RCN chief pay negotiator quits to join Unison

Josie Irwin will leave after a quarter of a century to join Unison as its national women’s officer.

Sarah Jane
26 October 2018

Josie Irwin is the latest senior figure to resign from the Royal College of Nursing.

The RCN’s chief pay negotiator Josie Irwin has announced she will be leaving the Royal College of Nursing after a quarter of a century to join Unison as its national women’s officer.


The announcement comes only weeks after members passed a motion of no confidence in the college’s ruling council following accusations they ‘misrepresented’ the NHS pay deal to members in England.

The RCN sold the pay deal to its members as a 3% pay rise for all Agenda for Change staff – but this later turned out to be incorrect, with some staff only receiving a 1.5% increase in July.

Pay deal controversy.

An independent external review into the unions handling of the pay deal concluded that key members of the RCN did not fully understand the ‘complex’ pay deal despite recommending it to members and Ms. Irwin’s role in both negotiating the deal and presenting it was a conflict of interests.

Ms. Irwin has previously caused controversy after stating ‘A ‘male’ style of negotiation would not have delivered a better pay deal‘ and suggesting that a better deal could not be established due to members reluctance strike.


Irwin’s resignation follows that of former general secretary Janet Davies and director of member relations Chris Cox.

Dame Donna Kinnair, Acting General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said; “It has been a pleasure working with Josie and I would like to thank her for her service to the college”.

The RCN is yet to announce will replace Ms. Irwin.

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