Nurses to be offered 6.5% pay rise but must give up a day’s holiday – report

Speculation is mounting over a newspaper report that nurses and other NHS staff are to be offered a pay rise of 6.5% – in return for giving up a day's annual leave. The RCN responds by saying pay talks are ongoing

Picture: iStock

Speculation is mounting over a report that nurses and other NHS staff are to be offered a pay rise of 6.5% – in return for giving up a day's annual leave.

A report in the Guardian based on a leaked document says the government is prepared to increase salaries for the 1.3 million workers on the Agenda for Change contract. This includes all NHS staff except doctors, dentists and some senior managers.

The RCN released a short statement in response to the report on Twitter, saying: ‘The RCN has been part of pay talks alongside all NHS unions – they are ongoing and have not concluded.

Members will decide

‘Once there is agreement in principle – and the Treasury commits to fully fund it – our members will decide if any deal is acceptable.’

Chancellor Philip Hammond committed to ending the contentious 1% pay cap when he unveiled his autumn budget last November.

The Guardian said the Treasury and the Department for Health and Social Care will put forward plans for a multi-year pay deal that will see non-medical NHS staff receiving a 3% pay rise next financial year and 1-2% in the following two years.

Giving up holiday a ‘red line’

Other staff would see their pay rise owing to the scrapping of the 1% cap on salary increases, the paper said. The deal is reported to be worth £3.3 billion.

Government negotiators say giving up one day of annual leave is a ‘red line’, according to the paper.

The Department for Health and Social Care said it does not comment on leaks.

What nurses are saying about the reported pay offer

Danielle Tiplady, the nurse behind last year‘s petition to scrap the pay cap: ‘We do not owe this government a penny. We should reject the offer, they are not having any of our annual leave. Why is it MPs get pay rises and don’t have to give anything in return, but when it comes to nurses we always have to lose out. We deserve a proper, above inflation pay rise with no strings attached after eight years of pay restraint. They need to treat us with respect.’


‘Nurses will have been thrown under a bus’

Annique Simpson, a community nurse from London: ‘The 6.5% is misleading. It’s over three years, a 3% increase in the first year – well that’s inflation. And year two and three, below inflation increases, and we are already 14% down over the last eight years. Nurses’ pay needs to increase to improve retention – to stop the haemorrhaging of nurses leaving – and to improve recruitment. And neither of these will improve with such a pathetic pay offer that is actually a pay cut.

‘Senior colleagues are resigning every week in my team. We have one senior nurse left out of six and they work four to five hours, five days a week unpaid. We are giving hundreds of hours in unpaid overtime and now the government want us to give up an annual leave day. They devalue us. Nurses will strike over this if it is real. Nurses will have been thrown under a bus.’

‘The leak could be a good call to arms’

Daniel Gooding, a children’s nursing student at London South Bank University and RCN Student Information Officer for London: ‘It’s obviously an offer that falls short, given we’ve lost 14%. The pay rise shouldn’t be dependent on annual leave, especially as MPs and the Nursing and Midwifery Council members have received pay rises above inflation, and we’re being offered 6.5% over three years, which is still below inflation.

‘As a student it doesn’t address any concerns I have. A proper pay rise would help recruitment and retention, which is a huge issue at the moment. But members should remember this isn’t official, although the leak could be a good call to arms to be active within unions and write to MPs.’

‘This is disgusting’

Drew Payne, a community nurse in north London: ‘I saw the Guardian leak and I am so angry. They are demanding I am robbed of a day of annual leave to get a pay rise I am long overdue. MPs aren't being forced to give up any of their annual leave and they have seen very healthy pay rises since 2010.

‘This is disgusting, and if our unions agree to it I don't know what I'll do.’

Further information

Related: Nursing Standard analyses on pay 

In other news