Nurses slam 5% pay offer as a ‘slap in the face’
Poll of 2,750 Nursing Standard readers on Twitter revealed 89% did not think the pay offer was enough and that it may impact recruitment and retention
Nurses have slammed their latest pay offer as ‘insulting’ and a ‘slap in the face’.
Nursing Standard Twitter poll shows dismay over 5% offer and one-off payment
Nursing staff reacted in dismay to the offer of a 5% pay increase for 2023-34 alongside a one-off payment worth between £1,655 and £3,789 for this year (2022-23).
A poll of 2,750 Nursing Standard readers on Twitter revealed 89% did not think the pay offer was enough. Over on Instagram, some 1,800 nurses voted in a poll on whether the pay offer was enough, with 89% also saying it is not.
After weeks of negotiations between health unions and the Westminster Government, both sides agreed to put the deal forward, with the RCN and Unison recommending their members vote in favour. The 5% rise is lower than that offered in Scotland where the Holyrood government putting forward a 6.5% pay rise for the forthcoming financial year.
Deal falls far short of unions’ demands, say many nurses
Many Nursing Standard readers questioned how the 5% deal, which falls far short of unions’ demands of an above-inflation pay rise, would help with recruitment and retention.
Some nurses say one-off payment will most likely be taxed and label it a ‘bribe’
Nurse Benjamin Feist wrote: ‘The strike was about pay restoration to improve patient safety through making recruitment and retention into some of the most stressful jobs more appealing and rewarding. This non-consolidated “bonus” and future 5% keeps pay below-inflation and fails to achieve either goal.’
Meanwhile, others pointed out that the one-off payment would most likely be taxed, with some also labelling it a ‘bribe’.
More than £66,000 in student debt with ‘blood, sweat and a lot of tears,’ says newly qualified nurse
Newly qualified nurse Lorna said she owed more than £66,000 in student debt, with ‘blood, sweat and a lot of tears’ in her journey to becoming a nurse, so would be rejecting the deal.
Non-consolidated payment ‘does nothing to attract people into profession’
Writing on Facebook, nurse Loretta Johnson said that a non-consolidated payment ‘does nothing to attract people into the profession and will not improve the staffing shortages’.
In addition to the pay offer, the Government has agreed to create a new ‘pay spine’ exclusively for all nursing staff with the intention of it coming into force for 2024-25. It will also develop a national safe staffing framework, something nurses have long campaigned for.
Criticism of new pay structure solely for nurses
But the introduction of a new pay structure solely for nurses was met with some concern.
Chair of the British Association of Critical Care Nurses Nicki Credland criticised the idea as ‘divisive’ and ‘insulting to our AHP [allied health professionals] colleagues’.
Children’s mental health nurse Holly added: ‘I work in a multidisciplinary team of 12, only four of us are nurses. The RCN, you do not speak for us when you negotiate a separate pay spine “exclusively” for nurses, we are one team.’
Nurses need a separate pay spine to negotiate specifically for profession, says retiree
But retired nurse June Girvin argued nurses needed a separate pay spine so they could negotiate specifically for the profession and ‘aren't in this position of having to go with what others in a collective may be satisfied with’.
Members of all six unions in the NHS Staff Council will now vote in ballots on whether to accept or reject the offer and strike action will be paused until the results of the ballot.
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