An emergency debate, proposed by Lisa Falconer of the RCN’s Lothian branch, was broadly in favour of the multi-year deal.
Hamish Kemp of the UK stewards committee said: ‘It is the best deal we are going to get. We need to send a positive message to our membership. What if we say no? Where does that leave us as an organisation? Will the public understand why it is saying no?’
Most speakers voiced the opinion that union negotiators had done well to avoid a 2% deal favoured by ministers.
RCN general secretary Peter Carter called on members to back the offer in his keynote speech, as did college lead pay negotiator Josie Irwin at a fringe meeting.
Ms Irwin told the meeting on pay that, in January, the government side was attempting to broker a deal worth only 7% over three years, which was rejected.
But support was not unanimous. Speaking at the emergency discussion, Joanna Smith of the RCN’s Camberwell Branch, said: ‘The RCN is walking alone in recommending what is really tantamount to a three-year pay cut.’
NT also understands that an emergency resolution, proposed by Linda Bailey, chairperson of the RCN’s public health forum, asking congress to ballot members over the current pay offer
The college is currently consulting with members over the proposed deal. However,
it has stopped short of balloting its members over the proposals.