Other unions warned the RCN’s decision prevents “one voice” on NHS pay.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has explained its decision to reject a collective stance on NHS pay.
Earlier this week, the RCN announced it would split from other unions by calling for a monumental 5% “above inflation” pay rise for NHS workers.
Reports from inside the union reveal the College’s ruling Council decided to deviate from a single NHS pay stance earlier this year when it ordered a plan to align with other unions to be shelved after being approved by the RCN’s elected Trade Union Committee (TUC).
The highly controversial decision to reject a collective stance has been met with mixed feelings from members and has resulted in the resignation of at least one member of the TUC.
Justifying the controversial decision to NursingNotes earlier this week, an insider said that Council was keen to ensure the pay demand was clear to both members and the Government.
They explained that many felt an “above inflation” demand was not specific enough given the current economic situation and a decade of real-terms pay cuts.
A joint statement from the other thirteen health unions warned the RCN’s decision prevents “one voice” on NHS pay.
A different approach.
In a public statement to members, RCN Chair of Council Carol Popplestone explained that sometimes leadership “requires tough decisions” and members “deserve to know what the RCN is asking for”.
She said, “Some of you are asking why the RCN is taking a different approach this year to other NHS unions. There is a lot of common ground across the union movement and we will be using that to all campaign together for a pay award that is significantly above the level of inflation.
“But there is a point of principle here for your Council – members deserve to know what the RCN is asking for.
“The only difference between the RCN and other unions is that we are confidently stating that nursing deserves a pay award 5% higher than the rate of inflation. That isn’t being uncollegiate, it’s about doing the right thing by our members and being honest about what ‘above inflation’ means for us.
“Behind closed doors and out at the street protests, I’ll stand alongside all trade unions campaigning for a significant above inflation NHS pay rise. Leadership requires tough decisions at times. But there is only one group of people Council has in mind when we make these decisions: the RCN’s half a million members.”