The union says a “substantial, restorative, pay rise” is needed.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has split from other unions by calling for a monumental 5% “above inflation” pay rise for NHS workers.
A “substantial, restorative, pay rise” 5% above inflation NHS pay rise could see the salary of an experienced frontline registered nurse rise by up to £4,000 after ONS data put inflation (RPI) at 7.8% in January 2022.
In addition to the one-off rise, the union is also calling for the use of national Recruitment and Retention Premia Payments, a system that allows NHS employers to pay more for hard to fill roles.
Reports from inside the union reveal the College’s ruling Council made the decision to deviate from other unions earlier this year when it ordered a plan developed and signed-off by the organisation’s elected Trade Union Committee (TUC) to be shelved.
Last month, the RCN accused the Government of trying to “pitch nurses against patients” by suggesting anything more significant than a 3% sub-inflation rise would negatively impact patients.
According to the RCN’s NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB) submission; “RCN members were bitterly disappointed with the pay award for 2021-22 and felt that the 3% fell far short of what is needed to address the fundamental problems facing the nursing workforce.”
In the document, the RCN talks about other issues facing the profession, including burnout due to the “unrelenting pressure” caused by chronic short staffing.
One charge nurse explained; “Many years of pay freezes has been a large pay cut in real terms. 3% is a real insult given what my team and I have had to do since the start of the pandemic.”
The RCN continues in the evidence, “A pay award at this level is an essential down-payment to restore lost earnings caused by successive years of below inflation pay awards.”
“Our evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that the nursing workforce is in crisis.”
Time to turn the tides.
RCN General Secretary and Chief Executive Pat Cullen said: “If the government does not listen it will be to the detriment of patients when more and more nursing staff decide to leave the profession.
“With three months until they are expected to make an announcement, they must listen to people who work in our health and care services.
“When a nurse or health care support worker feels no alternative but to leave, it becomes ever more challenging to provide highly effective care and treatment. They deserve salaries fitting of a safety-critical profession.
“By summer, ministers must come back with a pay award that turns the tide on the years of unfilled nursing jobs and experienced professionals struggling to make ends meet.”
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