Pay freeze is hurting nurse morale, says RCN's longest-serving rep

Gordon Lees looked back at more than 40 years of activism for the RCN at a talk in London yesterday.
Pay freeze

Nurses having to work more hours for less pay has led to a deterioration in their morale, according to the RCN’s longest serving rep. 

The royal college celebrated the career of its council member Gordon Lees, who became a RCN steward in 1975, at its London headquarters on 17 August.

The RCN says there has been a 14% real terms fall in nursing pay since 2010 and, in a talk reflecting on 41 years of activism, Mr Lees said the government had exploited nurses’ goodwill.

He said: ‘I say “shame on them”. 

‘I look forward to future nurses being given due recognition for what they do.’

Mr Lees started his career as a general nurse in Hartlepool before undertaking mental health training in Middlesbrough.

He spoke of giving advice to members in car parks, corridors, wards, GP surgeries, at home, at night, early mornings, on days off  and even when he was a hospital patient. 

But despite demonstrating the role’s demands, he urged people to become RCN stewards.

Mr Lees said: ‘The RCN is a great organisation and long may it continue to be and to achieve what it does for nurses and its members.’