Nurses warn of strike action over retirement and pension changes

UK nurses could take industrial action if the government raises their retirement age to 65, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has warned.

The call comes as the RCN launches its ‘No to 65!’ campaign which urges the government to rethink plans to compel nurses to carry on working until 65.

Dr Beverly Malone, general secretary of the RCN, said: “The message from nurses is clear – they overwhelmingly reject any move to raise their retirement age and feel strongly enough to consider taking industrial action if the need arises.

“Nursing is a physically and emotionally demanding job. To try and force nurses to carry on working beyond the age of 60 will only lead to more ill-health retirements in the NHS and undermine morale at a time of serious global shortages.

The RCN is also taking part in negotiations with other unions and the government on public sector pension provision.

Verity Lewis, the RCN’s senior employment relations adviser, said: “We will be fighting to protect nurses’ final salary pensions.

“These are widely viewed as the gold standard of pension schemes and replacing them with one based on average earnings does not provide the same incentive for nurses to develop their careers.”

At the RCN’s annual congress in April, 96% of delegates voted in favour of an emergency resolution asking the RCN’s council to impress upon the government that they will not rule out industrial action if all other methods fail and the government doesn’t change its plans.

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