News

Nurse pay rise 2022-23: more dithering ‘unacceptable’, say unions

RCN and Unison say the government pushing back a decision on next year’s pay offer for Agenda for Change staff until spring will damage the health service

RCN and Unison say the government pushing back a decision on next year’s pay offer for Agenda for Change staff until spring will damage the health service

A decision on a pay rise for nurses in 2022-23 has been pushed back until the end of next spring – a move unions have labelled ‘unacceptable’.

In a letter to the independent NHS Pay Review Body , which advises on pay for Agenda for Change staff, health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said the government must balance the need for fair pay with protecting funding for front-line services.

Government delays labelled ‘dithering’ by healthcare unions

But unions have accused the government of ‘dithering and delays’

RCN and Unison say the government pushing back a decision on next year’s pay offer for Agenda for Change staff until spring will damage the health service

Picture: iStock

A decision on a pay rise for nurses in 2022-23 has been pushed back until the end of next spring – a move unions have labelled ‘unacceptable’.

In a letter to the independent NHS Pay Review Body, which advises on pay for Agenda for Change staff, health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said the government must balance the need for fair pay with protecting funding for front-line services.

Government delays labelled ‘dithering’ by healthcare unions

But unions have accused the government of ‘dithering and delays’ in asking the pay review body to report back with its recommendations in May 2022. This means any deal would not be ready for the start of the 2022-23 financial year in April.

The health secretary’s letter said: ‘We must ensure that the affordability of a pay award is taken into consideration to ensure that the NHS is able to recruit, retain and motivate its Agenda for Change workforce, as well as deliver on other key priorities, including ensuring the NHS has 50,000 more nurses by 2025 and tackling elective recovery.’

The timetable set in Mr Javid’s letter echoes a move by his predecessor in the role, Matt Hancock, who asked the body to report on the 2021-22 pay after the start of the financial year.

A properly funded NHS to boost staff numbers and withstand future pressures

RCN general secretary Pat Cullen

RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said it was ‘unacceptable to keep our members waiting yet again’.

‘The health secretary is again trying to present a choice over keeping staff or delivering care.’ she added. ‘Fair pay must be part of turning the tide. He must understand how staffing shortages are the thing he cannot afford.’

Unison head of health Sara Gorton said NHS employees need a promise of a fair pay rise, as many are still to receive their pay rise from this year.

‘The government mustn’t dither and delay like last time. Ministers have to ensure a fair wage boost is top of their to-do list,’ she said. ‘A properly funded pay award will help the NHS withstand present and future pressures.’

The Department of Health and Social Care has been contacted for comment.

What is happening with this year’s pay offer?

An RCN ballot on the potential for industrial action over a 3% pay offer for 2021-22 closed in England and Wales on 30 November. Results of the ballot are expected in the coming days.

Nurses in Scotland have said they are prepared to strike over their 4% pay offer, with 60% of RCN Scotland members who voted in an indicative ballot supporting strike action.



In other news

Sign up to continue reading for FREE

OR

Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first three months:

  • Customisable clinical dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals including Primary Health Care
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • NMC-compliant RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs