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RCN releases early details of meeting over its handling of pay deal for nurses in England

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The Royal College of Nursing has revealed that the extraordinary general meeting called over its communications around the NHS pay deal will take place in Birmingham next month.

The college has this week issued a notice for the EGM, stating that it will take place on Friday 28 September at 11am in the Birmingham Repertory Theatre.

“More information will be made available shortly with booking to attend the EGM open soon,” said the college in a short statement published on its website on Tuesday.

In addition, it noted that an external review into the “governance and process” surrounding the RCN’s “understanding and communication” of the 2018 pay deal for England was now underway.

The findings from the review, which is being carried out by Electoral Reform Services, “would inform the EGM debate”, said the RCN statement.

The latest statement on the EGM plans is the latest development in the crisis facing the college over the way it explained the 2018 NHS pay deal to its members in England, leading to widespread anger.

Earlier this week, its chief executive and general secretary, Janet Davies, announced that she was stepping down at the end of the month over the issue, having previously made a public apology.

The plans for the emergency meeting follow a petition set up in July by RCN activists that was signed by over 1,000 members – the number required to force the holding of an EGM.

It called on college leaders to stand down and followed widespread anger and dismay after many nurses discovered they would be getting much less in their wage packets than expected.

All members were told they would get a 3% per pay rise backdated this summer but it subsequently turned out this was not the case with only half getting the rise straight away.

The rest will receive an average increase of around 1.5% with more to come on their incremental date – which could be as many as 11 months down the line.

Back in May, Ms Davies had first promised that the college would look into concerns about the way the NHS pay deal has been communicated to its members, amid claims that the union had “misrepresented” the offer.

At the union’s annual congress in Belfast, nurses accused the RCN of explaining the proposed pay deal in a way that suggested staff could receive far higher wage rises than would be on offer to most. The earlier criticism was mostly focused on descriptions of incremental wage increases.

The holding of next month’s meeting was formerly announced on 2 August by RCN chair Maria Trewern, as previously reported by Nursing Times.

Unlike most of its general meetings, the RCN noted that EGMs were normally called to discuss a “specific issue of importance or concern” to the membership.

They are usually called by the RCN’s council or, as in this case, can be requisitioned by 1,000 members in writing to discuss an issue of “particular importance or concern”.

Under its rules, the meeting must be held within six months of being requested and can be included in the agenda for the college’s annual general meeting “if timings permit”.

Meanwhile, the RCN in Wales has this week launched a consultation for its members on the separate pay deal agreed by unions and the Welsh government. The consultation for RCN members that work in the Welsh NHS will run until 14 September.

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