Royal College of Nursing members in Wales are being urged to find out exactly what a proposed pay deal will mean for them in the wake of a major row over the pay rise agreed in England.
The deal recently thrashed out by health unions and the Welsh government is similar to the 6.5% increase agreed in England.
“We are determined to engage widely with our members to make sure they are as informed as possible”
However, there are some key differences and nurses and others are being advised to find out exactly what the complex proposals will mean for them individually.
The call follows widespread anger and confusion among nursing colleagues in England who claimed they were “misled” by the RCN after they discovered the pay rise they received was much less than expected.
The mix-up, which is currently being investigated by the college, led to an apology to members and the resignation of chief executive Janet Davies, announced yesterday.
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The deal on the table in Wales, which only applies to NHS staff on Agenda for Change contracts, will see the current pay structure changed to remove overlapping pay points.
It should mean higher starting salaries for staff in every pay band. However, the draft pay agreement features a complicated formula with a wide variation in increases in different years for each band.
While some bands will see their pay increase by more than 6% in the first year, others will receive a lower increase at the start.
Meanwhile, there are differences in the total pay rise nurses in different bands can expect over the three years the deal covers.
The Welsh government has said the deal “matches and in some cases goes beyond” the deal for England, with NHS staff continuing to receive more generous unsocial hours and sick pay arrangements.
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If supported by a ballot of union members, the new pay deal will begin in the autumn and last until 2020-21.
The consultation for RCN members that work in the Welsh NHS will run until 14 September.
Tina Donnelly, director of the RCN in Wales, said it was important nurses familiarised themselves with the proposals before filling in the body’s consultation survey.
“The calculations are complex, breaking down the pay awards over the next three years, based on where individual nurses are on the pay bandings matrix,” she said.
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The RCN in Wales is advising nurses and nursing support staff to work out their individual pay deal by using the existing pay calculator, a version of which was also used for the deal in England.
Ms Donnelly said the college would also be staging a series of information meeting across the country so that members could find out what the pay deal means for them.
“We are determined to engage widely with our members to make sure they are as informed as possible before making their views known on the pay offer,” she said.
“[We] would encourage them to visit our website and social media pages and attend an information meeting to ensure they have all the details they need,” she added.