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NHS pay: nurses send out clear message over ‘unacceptable’ award

Will resounding RCN ballot result move nurses one step closer to industrial action vote, as NHS staff show their discontent over pay?
RCN balloted Northern Ireland members on 3% pay offer

Will resounding RCN ballot result move nurses one step closer to industrial action vote, as NHS staff show their discontent over pay?

A large majority of nurses who took part in a union ballot say the 3% pay rise they are being awarded is unacceptable.

RCN Northern Ireland held a vote of NHS members to gauge reaction to the offer, with 92% saying they did not want to accept it.

RCN director in Northern Ireland Rita Devlin said the ballot provided the college with a ‘clear mandate to act’ on nurses’ behalf in the campaign for better pay.

What form any action might take is not yet clear, but RCN members in Northern Ireland’s NHS were the

Will resounding RCN ballot result move nurses one step closer to industrial action vote, as NHS staff show their discontent over pay?

RCN balloted Northern Ireland members on 3% pay offer
Picture: iStock

A large majority of nurses who took part in a union ballot say the 3% pay rise they are being awarded is unacceptable.

RCN Northern Ireland held a vote of NHS members to gauge reaction to the offer, with 92% saying they did not want to accept it.

RCN director in Northern Ireland Rita Devlin said the ballot provided the college with a ‘clear mandate to act’ on nurses’ behalf in the campaign for better pay.

What form any action might take is not yet clear, but RCN members in Northern Ireland’s NHS were the first in the college’s history to go on strike – because they were dissatisfied with pay – in 2019.

Nurses deliver ‘clear verdict’ on 3% pay award

Ms Devlin said: ‘Unsafe staffing levels have an adverse impact on patient care and paying nursing staff fairly is a key factor in retaining the experienced staff we have as well as attracting others.

‘Our members have delivered a clear verdict on this pay award, which sends a very clear message to our politicians that nursing staff deserve to be paid fairly. With thousands of vacancies, pay will continue to be an issue for the foreseeable future.’

NHS pay in England, Scotland and Wales

The ballot results come at a time of widespread dissatisfaction with NHS pay, with nurses threatening strike action in response to a 3% rise in England and Wales, and 4% increase in Scotland.

Award is in addition to one-off payment

The 3% pay offer, confirmed in November, comes on top of a one-off payment that varies by pay band:

  • Support workers and healthcare assistants on the lowest salaries – in band 1 to 3 roles – will see the biggest one-off jump in pay, of 1.5%.
  • Staff in bands 4 to 7 will see a rise of 1%.
  • All other directly employed staff, including senior nurses, will receive a top-up of 0.5%.

A health department spokesperson said: ‘When the health minister Robin Swann announced the 3% increase in November, he said if he could find funding to deliver a greater award he would do so.’

Some 51% of eligible RCN Northern Ireland members took part in the ballot.


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