RCN Jersey votes to accept 2.5% pay increase for 2017

Branch will oppose disparity between nurses' and allied healthcare professionals' pay in 2018 talks

Branch will oppose disparity between nurses' and allied healthcare professionals' pay in 2018 talks

RCN Jersey chair Kenny McNeil
RCN Jersey chair Kenny McNeil. Picture: John Houlihan

RCN Jersey members have settled on a 2.5% pay increase for 2017 but will continue to fight ‘unfair’ treatment in this year's pay arrangements.

RCN Jersey is now waiting to see if the other unions involved in the negotiations will accept the offer.

The island's nurses had been offered an 'uplift' of at least 1%, depending on experience, from July 2017 and a further consolidated 1% pay rise backdated to January 2017.

But this offer was rejected in February, with 75% voting against the pay increase in a poll with a 51% membership turnout.

Waiting game

Commenting on the agreement for 2017, RCN Jersey branch chair Kenny McNeil said: ‘It is a relief to put 2017 to bed – members deserved this pay uplift a long time ago.

‘However, it is still a waiting game to see how the other unions choose to vote – it is not a done deal yet.’

Mr McNeil said the more pressing issue for nurses on Jersey was the inequality of pay between nurses and allied healthcare professionals in 2018. 

‘Since talks around workforce modernisation have broken down, nurses have been dismayed to hear that some allied healthcare professionals have been given a significant pay rise,’ he said.

‘This means that for jobs of equal or similar skill level, nurses are receiving significantly less money. It’s not fair and our members are rightly angry.’

The States of Jersey’s workforce modernisation programme is a package of changes to pay and terms of conditions for all workers employed by the island’s government.

But negotiations on the deal broke down when it was revealed some allied healthcare professionals had been offered a higher pay rise than nurses in what Mr McNeil called a ‘back-door deal' earlier this year.

Unprecedented anger

While RCN Jersey has accepted the position on the 2017 pay deal the Jersey Nursing Association (JNA), which is a branch of Unite, have not. 

JNA convenor Terry Hanby said anger over the 2018 deal had influenced the vote and that nurses on the island felt demoralised and undervalued by the States of Jersey.

‘There is an unprecedented level of anger here,’ he said.

Royal College of Midwives Jersey branch workplace representative Sarah Samson said a ballot of members on the 2017 pay deal was due to close on 7 May. 

A States of Jersey spokesperson said it was pleased the RCN had accepted the 2017 pay offer, adding it was committed to resolving the ongoing dispute.

‘We recognise the commitment and professionalism given by all our staff, and we are continuing to work with everyone involved to resolve the outstanding pay issues,’ the spokesperson said.

Mr McNeil said the RCN will continue discussions with the States of Jersey this month on the issue and meet members at the end of May to discuss the next steps.

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