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‘Pay us fairly for the tough job we do,’ RCN tells government

The time for clapping has passed – nurses need an immediate pay rise, says Dame Donna Kinnair

The time for clapping has passed and nurses need an immediate pay rise, says general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair

The time for medals, applause and badges is over nurses need a 12.5% pay rise, says RCN general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair, demanding that the government pay us fairly for the tough job we do.

While nurses appreciated the outpouring of support from the public, they were disappointed by the lacklustre response from politicians, Professor Kinnair told a virtual conference of the colleges workplace representatives. The clapping by politicians was fine too, until it sounded all too hollow, she said.

No reply from the prime minister after call for pay talks

The time for clapping has passed and nurses need an immediate pay rise, says general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair

Picture of RCN general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair
RCN general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair

The time for medals, applause and badges is over – nurses need a 12.5% pay rise, says RCN general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair, demanding that the government ‘pay us fairly for the tough job we do’.

While nurses appreciated the outpouring of support from the public, they were disappointed by the lacklustre response from politicians, Professor Kinnair told a virtual conference of the college’s workplace representatives. ‘The clapping by politicians was fine too, until it sounded all too hollow,’ she said.

No reply from the prime minister after call for pay talks

‘Back in the summer, we asked Boris Johnson to start talking to us about a fair pay rise. And do you know what he said? Absolutely nothing. Not even the courtesy of a reply from the prime minister to 14 health unions asking him to bring forward pay discussions.’

With winter approaching, nurses only want one thing from the government, she says. ‘I have something simple to say to Boris Johnson. We don’t want claps, or medals or pin badges – this time, just pay us fairly for the tough job we do.’

Professor Kinnair’s comments come as the college releases its formal submission to the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review, making its case for an increase to nursing pay. The review, expected next month, will set out the government’s spending priorities.

Funding for pay rise ‘must not come from existing budgets’

In its submission, the RCN says a 12.5% pay increase for all nurses on Agenda for Change contracts in England would cost the government £4.25 billion per year. The college also states this funding must not come from existing budgets.

Responding to Professor Kinnair’s remarks, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said the government appreciated nurses. ‘We are grateful for the hard work and dedication of all our nurses.’

The spokesperson said nurses were already benefiting from the pay deal agreed with trade unions in 2018. They said the government would wait for recommendations from the independent NHS Pay Review Body before considering a pay increase for nurses.

‘We will consider their advice when we receive it, while continuing to listen to trade unions and our valued staff to ensure everyone is rewarded fairly.’


Find out more

RCN submission to Comprehensive Spending Review


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