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RCN CONGRESS LATEST: Nurse chiefs support pay deal

  • 7 Comments
Nursing chiefs called on members to support the proposed 8% three-year pay rise at the RCN Conference in Bournemouth this week.

They told delegates that the proposals, which give nurses 2.75% in 2008-2009, followed by 2.4% and 2.25% in the next two years, are the best that could have been achieved by negotiation.

Josie Irwin, the RCN’s head of employment relations, said they were faced with constant pressure from the government to acquiesce to demands for a lower three-year settlement.

There was a telephone hotline in the negotiation room to Number 10 Downing Street, which often interrupted the negotiations that took place in autumn and spring.

The government’s policy of keeping public sector pay awards to 2% for the next three years was an ever-present threat. ‘Two per cent was the big elephant in the room,’ said Ms Irwin.

The government’s starting point was a multi-year deal worth 7%, which unions immediately rejected.
When the government came back with an improved offer of 7.2%, this was also thrown out by negotiators.

It was only when the 2.75% recommendation of the NHS Pay Review Body became known at the end of March that the figure went to 8%.

Ms Irwin said the deal was the best that could be achieved through negotiation.

‘There is no prospect of us getting a better deal. We would not be able to have talks about restructuring bands six and seven. The government is likely to react by staging. We would need to take industrial action in order to fight for more - we would not be able to get any more by negotiation.

She added that rejecting the proposals could jeopardise the entire Agenda for Change structure.

‘There is a real risk of fragmentation, with all four different countries wanting to do their own thing.’

But delegate David Harding-Price criticised the RCN’s failure to take industrial action last year following a ballot rejecting a staged pay award worth 1.9%.

‘Ninety-eight per cent of members who voted were in favour of industrial action,’ he said.

  • 7 Comments

Readers' comments (7)

  • As an RCN member I have voted online to reject the proposal.
    It’s about time that the RCN worked for its members and not the government. If they are unable to further negotiate then do they have the necessary negotiation skills or indeed are they in the right job?
    A three year deal is not acceptable. As for the Agenda for Change, bar-humbug -it’s turned out like the past grading system - fixed.

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  • I too have rejected the pay offer. A single year deal of 2.75%, as recommended by the pay review body, I would accept but not this 3 year deal with the less than worthless 'resturcturing' of band 5 and 6.

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  • I despair of how out of touch RCN officials are at all levels with reality & members. Like colleagues in RCN I voted to reject, but who independently counts votes? I know no one in favour, Unite, RCM, etc, appear to represent their members rejecting this flawed deal. I agree re lack of negotiation skills, why do they think they are in the job. We need negotiators who are not afraid to act on votes & views of members, not keeping employers happy.

    AfC! clinical specialists with a JAQ & evidence that consistently achieved 8a & 7 elsewhere, our PCT & RCN rep achieved a 6. They just advertised for clinical specialist at Band 5, again useless RCN involved in achieving this!

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  • I am going to reject the RCN as a trade union, I dispair with the lack of support from a professional organisation.
    I have had to join another union to get help at work as we are constantly being pushed around and my two local RCN contacts (stewards) seem to be unaccessable ?due to close links within the management structure, I don't feel protected anymore and am beginning to see a bigger picture, maybe this is not an isolated case? Am I paranoid?
    How can they lock us into a three year deal when the country is facing such uncertain times. Please reject the offer.

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  • The RCN has met my expectations to do a useless job and, sell us down the river. We deliver targets from the government year on year and, yet are always awarded the poorest pay increase (compare us to GPs, Consultants, etc) and have a much worse deal than teachers and the police. It's about time the RCN acted in the interests of it's membership. Industrial action is the only currency that a Gvt understands. The RCN will point out that this tactic may lose public support. Public sympathy and support does not pay the bills. To tie us into a three year deal is lunacy. It is time for action. Do not accept this pay deal.

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  • how dare these PEOPLE say we should accept such paltry rise, petrol up, food up, imortages up in fact everything up, except a decent wage. we nurse's have struggled for a long time, its now time to say enough is enough ,give us a decent pay rise. it should be 8% this year followed up by 8% for the next two years. so the rise should be 24% over three years so you busy bodies at the rcn move the decimal point to go from 2.4% to 24 % over three years. i am glad that i left the rcn as they have been a complete waste of space and they sholud all be SACKED for incompentence, and failing the hard working vulenerable nurses.

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  • am i not understanding something. last year when we were 'fighting' for our pay rise we were given a poultry amount but promised this would be made better this year. what has happened ? i have no faith in the government or RCN to give us what we deserve and they have us over a barrel as we cannot/ will not strike. They have sold us down the river with A4C and are going the same way with this years pay rise.

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