RCN congress

Call for RCN to push for Agenda for Change rebanding

Nurses have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution calling on the RCN to demand a ‘systematic re-banding’ of their jobs under Agenda for Change (AfC).

Nurses have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution calling on the RCN to demand a systematic re-banding of their jobs under Agenda for Change (AfC)

Greater Liverpool and Knowsley branch chair Mike Travis submitted the resolution to congress on Tuesday.

The proposal cited the colleges recent employment survey which showed 39% of members now think their pay band is not appropriate measured against the work they do.

Mr Travis identified the most common problems as being:

  • Job creep where lower banded staff take on additional duties due to work pressures and staff shortage.
  • Downbanding where managers reduce the number of higher banded staff and create lower banded roles to replace them.

Nurses have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution calling on the RCN to demand a ‘systematic re-banding’ of their jobs under Agenda for Change (AfC)


Mike Travis, speaking at RCN congress, identified the most common issues with banding
and pay which need to be resolved for nurses. Picture: John Houlihan

Greater Liverpool and Knowsley branch chair Mike Travis submitted the resolution to congress on Tuesday.

The proposal cited the college’s recent employment survey which showed 39% of members now think their pay band is not appropriate measured against the work they do.

Mr Travis identified the most common problems as being:

  • Job creep – where lower banded staff take on additional duties due to work pressures and staff shortage.
  • Downbanding – where managers reduce the number of higher banded staff and create lower banded roles to replace them.
  • Poor job evaluation practice – where the process is often outsourced or misunderstood by employers.
  • A belief by employers that they have immunity from legal action for equal pay.

AfC was introduced in 2004 following years of complex negotiations between trade unions, employers and government.

Human resources issue

Mr Travis argued in most cases most nursing jobs assigned to Band 5 had not been re-evaluated since that date – or in his case even longer.

He added: ‘The job I started doing 30 years ago is not the same as the one I’m doing now.

‘This is a human resources-owned and driven issue with no mechanism in place for timely review.’

The proposal was seconded by Hertfordshire branch chair Anne Wells who added: ‘After AfC came in, all reps were trained at huge cost to the RCN and other unions to learn how to match jobs.

'14 years ago a Band 5 nurse would only be in charge one shift a week; but how many of them are not in charge almost every shift nowadays? None!'

RCN Lancashire West branch member Kirk Panter spoke of the ‘scandal’ of Band 2 healthcare assistants being made to work as Band 3s, but without the pay.

Low pay, high rents

Children's nurse Amina Ahmed revealed she had been a Band 5 for eight years and was struggling to support four children with her husband in a one-bedroom flat in south east London.

She said: ‘I am angry and frustrated with low pay and high rents; I feel I am being forced out of London and out of the profession altogether.’

RCN general secretary Janet Davies said: ‘Nurses are clearly saying they don’t feel valued.

‘We know downbanding is being used as a way of controlling costs – but it is short-sighted.

'Struggling to make ends meet'

‘Nurses are turning away from a profession they love because they are struggling to make ends meet and cope with ever increasing workloads.

‘At a time when there are severe nursing shortages, it is vital for nurses and for patients that we do not deter new people from entering the profession.

‘Our general election manifesto calls for an end to the practice of downbanding registered nurses.

‘It’s only fair that their pay reflects their experience and the care they provide.’


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