The Royal College of Nursing has announced that its NHS members in England have voted to accept the government’s revised pay offer.
The college said that 60% of members who voted were in favour of the offer, and 40% against. It did not reveal the turnout in the ballot.
The government offer includes a 1% pay rise for all NHS staff up to pay point 42, the second point on band 8c (£56,504) from 1 April 2015.
“Members may have accepted it, but that doesn’t mean they’re happy with it”
It would also see a one-year increment freeze for staff on pay point 34, the second point of band 8a (£40,458) and above, and additional changes to benefit those on the lowest pay scales,
In addition, it includes a commitment by ministers to continue using the independent NHS Pay Review Body in future years for setting remuneration levels.
The RCN said it would meet with other NHS unions and employers on 9 March to decide on the “next steps”.
If there is an overall agreement to accept the offer, the proposals will be implemented in England with effect from 1 April.
Unison announced yesterday that its members had also accepted the deal and the GMB announced on Monday that 81% of its NHS members in England had voted to accept and 19% to reject.
The Royal College of Midwives reached a similar agreement at the end of last month.
Rehana Azam, GMB National Officer, said “GMB members in England have voted by four to one to accept the new offer secured after a week of talks. This means the pay dispute in England is resolved.”
In spite of the ballot results, RCN chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said the pay offer fell “far short of what our members deserve”.
“It’s particularly hard on more senior and specialist nurses, who are critical to the future of the NHS,” he said.
Michael Brown, chair of the RCN Council, added: “We know this offer doesn’t make up for the years of pay restraint our members have endured, or for the intense pressures they face.
“Members may have accepted it, but that doesn’t mean they’re happy with it,” he said. “Nor does it mean that the RCN’s fight for fair pay for all nursing staff is over.
“We know the government is looking at how to get seven day working on the cheap, and we will do everything we can to defend the terms and conditions of our members,” he added.
The government put forward its renewed pay offer for all NHS staff in England in January, causing unions to suspend a planned 12-hour strike in order to consult members on the proposals.
The move followed two four-hour strikes held in the autumn – on 13 October and on 24 November – in which the RCN chose not to take part, preferring instead a series of protests and lobbying activity.