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Northern Irish nurses to receive 1% pay rise after seven-month wait

A pay rise of 1% promised to nurses in Northern Ireland seven months ago will finally appear in their November wage packets, health minister Michelle O'Neill has confirmed.
1%

A pay rise of 1% promised to nurses in Northern Ireland seven months ago will finally appear in their November wage packets, health minister Michelle O'Neill has confirmed.

The RCN recently wrote to Sinn Fein MLA Ms ONeill to highlight members' concerns over the time being taken to process the award, which was announced by former health minister Simon Hamilton in March.

The 1% pay rise is for the 2016/17 pay claim, and nurses will see the amount backdated to 1 April this year.

Uplift

Responding to an oral Assembly question last week, Ms O'Neill said: The payroll team in the HSC Business Services Organisation has provided assurances that the majority of staff will receive their uplift and arrears in their November pay.

The

A pay rise of 1% promised to nurses in Northern Ireland seven months ago will finally appear in their November wage packets, health minister Michelle O'Neill has confirmed.

Storemont
The 1% pay rise for nurses in Northern Ireland was discussed in Stormont last week. Picture: iStock

The RCN recently wrote to Sinn Fein MLA Ms O’Neill to highlight members' concerns over the time being taken to process the award, which was announced by former health minister Simon Hamilton in March.

The 1% pay rise is for the 2016/17 pay claim, and nurses will see the amount backdated to 1 April this year.

Uplift

Responding to an oral Assembly question last week, Ms O'Neill said: ‘The payroll team in the HSC Business Services Organisation has provided assurances that the majority of staff will receive their uplift and arrears in their November pay.

‘The pay will be awarded and backdated to 1 April this year.

‘A number of people who require manual uplifts will receive their payments in December or January, but the vast majority will be paid in their November pay.’

In January, RCN members were balloted on industrial action after being offered the 1% only as a one-off, lump sum payment.

However, following advice from the Pay Review Body, Mr Hamilton announced in March he would consolidate the 1% into the 2016/2017 claim.

Matching salaries

SDLP health spokesperson Mark Durkan said nurses were ‘overworked and apparently undervalued’, and repeated a call for salaries to match those in the rest of the UK.

The starting salary for a band 5 nurse in Northern Ireland is £21,692 a year, compared to £21,909 in England and Wales and £22,218 in Scotland. 

He added: ‘This is some good, albeit overdue, news for our nurses, who are the backbone of our health service.

‘Figures show that nurses operating in the same pay bracket in England, Scotland and Wales can still expect to earn more from their starting salary.

‘We could soon find ourselves in the midst of a real staffing crisis when it comes to nursing.

‘If we are serious about encouraging people to choose nursing and practise in Northern Ireland, we cannot continue to pay them less than what they can expect almost anywhere else.’

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