For the first time in its 103-year history, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has begun a ballot of members on industrial action over the staffing and pay crisis in NI.
Voting papers will be posted today to RCN members working in health and social care services in the Province.
Pat Cullen, NI director of the RCN, said: “Over the next four weeks we are asking nursing staff across Northern Ireland if they are willing to take industrial action, including strike action, over the unacceptable conditions that we currently face in health care in Northern Ireland.
“Nurses are being expected to work with nearly 3,000 unfilled nursing posts across the system while their pay has fallen far behind colleagues in England, Scotland and Wales.
“Nurses can go anywhere to work and we fear that, unless this situation is resolved quickly, it will only get worse as our newly qualified nurses choose to practise elsewhere in the UK and beyond.”