Nurses' strikes could persist as union prepares for members to vote against pay offer

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is preparing for its members to vote against the government's pay offer of a one-off payment of around £2,500 and a 5% salary increase in 2023/24, sources have told ITV News.

The vote is believed to be very close, with the ballot open until 9am tomorrow. But from what I've heard it would take a huge amount tonight to overturn the current situation.

A rejection would come despite the union recommending that members take the offer. But sources claimed the government had failed to grasp the scale of anger among NHS workers following years of pay restraint and Covid.

It would be a huge blow to the PM who hoped the breakthrough of talks with nurses and unions representing other NHS workers - that resulted in the RCN, Unison, GMB and others recommending the offer - would be a turning point on strikes. Instead, he could now face the prospect of nurse strikes on top of junior doctor walkouts. The RCN has a mandate for strikes that runs into May and could ballot for further action if the deal is rejected tomorrow. Unison's ballot also closes tomorrow.

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