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NHS nurses in England to get their biggest pay rise for a decade

RCN members and other unions accept NHS pay offer


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Nurses in England are to receive their most significant pay rise in a decade, with 77% of RCN members who voted in a ballot accepting the NHS pay offer.

The extra money starts to go into pay packets in July and will be backdated to 1 April.

The RCN and 11 other unions have now formally backed the pay deal negotiated with the government, following a six-week ballot of members. It means eligible nurses in England will see a pay increase of at least 6.5% over three years.

Turnout revealed

The level of support for the deal among RCN members was mirrored in other unions – 84% of Unison members accepted it. The only union to reject the offer was the GMB.

In a comment on the RCN's Facebook page the college said a total of 39,863 members voted. That means 30,694 members were in favour and 9,169 against.

The number of RCN members eligible to vote was around 216,000, making turnout 18.5%.

Earlier in the week an official claimed that turnout was only 10%

‘This isn’t the end of our fight – it’s the first step’

In a statement, RCN trade union committee chair Lorrae Allford said: ‘We don’t see this decision as the end of our fight for fair pay, but rather a good first step. In three years’ time, the political and economic landscape may be completely different.

‘This deal gives our members extra cash through potentially turbulent times ahead, and gives us a platform to build on in the future.’

RCN general secretary Janet Davies said the next priority was to see the pay deal extended to nurses outside of the NHS.

‘We will turn our campaigning fire on getting this pay rise extended to nursing staff in social care,’ she said.

‘The care sector already suffers from high staff turnover, so pay must be boosted there too if we are to prevent a nursing exodus for better-paid jobs in hospitals and the community.’

Message to nurses who voted ‘no’

Ms Davies sought to address the concerns of members who voted against the deal. ‘I want to reassure those members who did not support this deal that their views are respected and their arguments have been heard by the college,’ she said.

‘They can be assured this is by no means the end of our campaigning for fair pay, and their contribution to that cause will remain invaluable.’

Unite members voted 79% in favour of the offer with a voter turnout of 27% of its membership, while the Royal College of Midwives said it had an 85.7% vote in favour.

The deal is expected to receive final approval at a meeting of unions, the NHS and government on 27 June. After this, a formal communication will be sent to NHS employers to begin paying the higher amount in July's pay packets.

With a pay deal concluded for NHS staff in England, the focus will now turn to Scotland and Wales where pay negotiations are under way. In Northern Ireland, the absence of devolved government due to political impasse means any increase for nurses there will be delayed.

Here’s what happens now

  • Basic pay will rise immediately in the NHS in England for everyone on an Agenda for Change pay scale
  • It means a 3% rise this year, 1.7% next year and 1.7% in 2020-21. A lump sum worth 1.1% will be paid in April 2019 for those at the top of pay bands, with exceptions for those at the top of bands 8 and 9
  • Other changes, to improve starting salaries for each band and remove overlaps between bands, will take place over the first two years covered by the three-year deal
  • Some points in the mid-range of each band will also be removed in years two and three of the deal, enabling staff to progress through bands more quickly. If someone is due to move up to a point that will be deleted, they will go to the point above it
  • A combination of these changes will mean pay increases of between 9% and 29% over the three years for those not already at the top of their band

Source: RCN Bulletin

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