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Nurses in Wales to vote on 6.5% pay rise

RCN in Wales to consult members on annual pay increases and faster pay progression

RCN in Wales to consult members on annual pay increases and faster pay progression

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Picture: iStock

Nurses in Wales can have their say on the NHS pay deal recently agreed between the health unions and the Welsh government.

The RCN in Wales has launched its consultation for members to decide whether to accept a total pay rise of at least 6.5% by 2020-21.

If accepted by members, the deal will mean the removal of Agenda for Change pay bands that overlap, as well as annual pay increases and faster pay progression over the next three years.

When the deal was agreed in July, the Welsh government claimed it ‘matches the offer made in England and goes beyond it in some areas that are important to the NHS in Wales’.

Members of all but one of the 14 health unions in England voted to accept a three-year 6.5% deal in June.

Director of RCN Wales Tina Donnelly said the deal in England forms the basis for the offer but, because healthcare policy is devolved in Wales, ‘the situation is different here’.

Pay calculator

The college is urging members to visit the dedicated NHS Wales pay website and use the pay calculator provided there.

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Director of RCN Wales Tina Donnelly
Picture: Jay Williams

It stresses the importance of the total gain at the end of the three-year deal, adding: ‘Your pay increase may be different from that of your colleagues and some people do better than others in individual years.’

According to the data provided by the calculator there are 13,293 staff at the top of Band 5 working in the Welsh NHS.

Under the terms of the deal, nurses at the top of Band 5 who earned £28,747 in 2017-18 would receive £861 more in the first year, £1,365 more in the second and £1,868 more in the final year.

This means their total annual salary in 2020-21 would be £30,615, a rise of 6.5% over 2017-18.

Engagement

In comparison, the 2,600 staff starting the deal at the bottom of Band 5 will be earning £26,970 in 2020-21 compared with £22,129 in 2017-18, representing a 21.8% rise.

The Welsh government has confirmed it will fund the deal itself because, under the formula used by the UK treasury to distribute public sector finances, it will receive insufficient funding.

Ms Donnelly added: ‘The calculations are complex. They involve breaking down the pay awards over the next three years based on where individual nurses are on the pay bandings matrix.

‘We are determined to engage widely with our members to make sure they are as informed as possible before making their views known on the pay offer.’

Consultation

If most members from the 12 unions that negotiated jointly as the Welsh Partnership Forum vote to accept the deal, it could be in place by October, with pay rises backdated to 1 April.

The RCN Wales’ consultation closes on 14 September.

Last week the RCN in Scotland voted alongside other health unions to accept a pay deal worth up to 9% by 2020-21.

The lack of government in Northern Ireland means pay negotiations are yet to take place.

How the RCN communicated the pay deal in England to members came under close scrutiny this month, with now outgoing RCN general secretary Janet Davies issuing an apology for the college's handling of the matter.

This culminated yesterday (20 August) when Ms Davies announced she will be stepping down as RCN general secretary. 

The college's communication of the pay deal will be discussed at an extraordinary general meeting on 28 September in Birmingham.


Related material 

  • Access the RCN Wales pay website and link for the consultation ballot here

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