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‘Let’s give our unions the force behind them to go back to the table’

  • 1 Comment

The pay rise is a cheap sticking plaster to hold together a gaping wound.

During #ScrapTheCap campaign we screamed from the rooftops for a fair, above inflation and equal pay rise.

We fought hard, touring wards, speaking to colleagues, protesting, holding events and helping build momentum for the most memorable campaign of the year.

“I am incredibly disappointed how this has been spun”

Nursing was the focus of the general election, we dominated it and finally we thought we may be recognised for our hard work and dedication to our profession.

Alas, when the NHS pay deal was announced we found out we were wrong. Many have realised the claims of up to a 29% pay rise are incorrect and misleading.

These calculations include incremental pay, which previously were argued as not being a pay rise.

They are not “something for nothing”. They are awarded to us for our professional growth, responsibility and education.

I am incredibly disappointed how this has been spun, it is hurtful to see our unions join the government in sharing this deception. For everyone, this is a 6.5% pay rise over three years.

The cost of living is continuously rising and the Retail Price Index inflation forecast for the same period totals 9.3%, so yet again this pay deal would mean a cut in living standards.

“If we tie ourselves into this we will have three years of not being able to argue for more pay”

If we tie ourselves into this we will have three years of not being able to argue for more pay, we will be shackled into a deal that will predictably make us poorer.

The pay offer is divisive between different bands, but we cannot allow it to divide us. Yes, those on lower bands should be paid more than they are now, but so should everyone – this is a fight for fair pay for all.

Unsociable hours have not been protected. Under the deal, out of ours pay will be cut for bands 1-3 and, despite these bands being uplifted on pay generally, we need to remember this move represents a loss of future earnings. And sickness pay has also changed.

“I reject this pay offer and urge everyone to do the same – we must be brave and #DitchTheDeal”

Even though some may feel these are small tweaks to our contracts, we have to be aware that this could influence future governments to make unprecedented changes to any of our terms and conditions, which will be a further detriment to us. We have to stand firm.

Senior nurses, who have suffered under eight years of harsh pay restraint, feel betrayed being left to sit at the top of their band feeling they have no incentive to stay.

These are the very nurses who mentored, educated and supported you and I to become nurses. We must stand in solidarity with them and not be fooled by spin.

A friend of mine, a nurse at the top of band 6, who I campaigned very closely with during #ScrapTheCap, was visibly upset at the pay announcement and told me with sadness in their eyes that they have again been made to feel “worthless”.

All those years of experience seemingly means nothing – with 52% of the NHS workforce at the top of their band, we cannot afford for people to be made to feel this undervalued when we are haemorrhaging so many staff.

Every one of us should feel a sense of pride in pushing back against the original idea to take away a day of our annual leave, which was leaked to the press before the pay deal was announced.

Our united voice did that – we put across the arguments and won. We can achieve when we speak out together – we should realise from this alone how powerful we are. This should be harnessed.

The government may still be committed to austerity, but when they themselves have got a 17.7% pay rise since 2010 and those sitting in the Lords get increases in their expenses, their argument wears even more thin.

I am sick of being told “we are in this together”. When you compare the way we are treated, you know that this is simply not the case.

We should not be pushed to feel “it is better than nothing” or feel threatened or scared by the idea we will go back to 1%.

“Senior nurses, who have suffered under eight years of harsh pay restraint, feel betrayed”

Remember the government found £1bn to prop itself up into power with the Democratic Unionist Party; they have money when they chose to use it.

I reject this pay offer and urge everyone to do the same – we must be brave and #DitchTheDeal. Now the dust has settled, we must get organised in our workplaces and unions.

We must all ensure our details are up to date, so that when our unions consult us, we can give our opinion and have your voice heard.

Attend your branch meetings, pass motions to reject the offer and ensure you are speaking to your colleagues put across the facts to ensure they reject.

Let’s give our unions the force behind them to go back to the table and demand we get a better deal.

Danielle Tiplady is a London staff nurse and prominent campaigner for better pay for nurses.

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

  • We need !7.6% just to restore our pre cap real purchasing power; this offer merely reduces our pay cut. We need tougher negotiators, maybe more males on the union negotiating team.

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