RCN rumoured to be seeking a 12.5% pay rise for all NHS workers

This would see the take-home pay of most nurses rise by around £3,000 a year or £250 a month.

Matt Bodell
7 August 2020

The majority of NHS workers have experienced ten years of real-terms pay cuts.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is rumoured to be seeking a fully-funded and consolidated 12.5% pay rise for its members.


Leaked internal documents and numerous senior sources within the RCN have confirmed the plans to NursingNotes while sources inside UNISON report a significant disconnect between the RCN and other healthcare unions.

A much-deserved 12.5% pay rise would go a significant way to make up for the £6144 per year real terms loss the most senior band 5 nurses have experienced in the past decade.

In real terms, this would see the take-home pay of most nurses rise by around £3,000 a year or £250 a month.

An email sent to members by the East Coast Health Branch of UNISON earlier this week reveals that all healthcare unions “bar one” are “trying to negotiate a £2000 uplift to all bands across Agenda for Change payscales”.


Both the RCN and UNISON are said to be resolute that pay discussion should begin ahead of the next round of pay discussions next year.

Applause and kind words.

In July thirteen wrote to the Prime Minister and Chancellor calling for the “applause and kind words” during the COVID-19 pandemic need to be turned into something more substantial.

An RCN spokesperson did not deny the claims but instead said the union would clarify its position “in the early autumn”.

“As a professional trade union with over 450,000 members, our priority is to engage our elected and accredited representatives over the summer months and continue working towards a joint union claim. We will confirm our position in the early autumn.


“Our members will determine the level of our ask. But the government must listen to the strength of feeling in the nursing workforce and bring forward these discussions – telling nursing staff to wait until next year is completely unacceptable.”

Health and social care workers were recently missed out of a recent pay deal for public sector workers despite working on the frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic and an overwhelming majority of the public supporting a rise.

Urgent action.

With over 40,000 nursing vacancies across the NHS in England alone, recent research from the RCN suggests that without urgent action this could get dramatically worse with over a third of the nursing workforce is considering leaving due to poor pay.

Nurses United UK has said it would support the RCN’s call for a 12.5% rise.

Anthony Johnson, Lead Organisor for the grass-roots movement, commented on the rumours; “If this is true then Nurses can see now who is working for their interests and wants to help them win. 12.5% when the average nurse has lost 20% from their pay packets since 2010 would mean fewer nurses going to food banks and struggling to pay their mortgages.


“15% would be better, which is why Nurses United have called for it.

“However, as a campaign organisation we will support any person or union who wants to get a tangible victory for frontline nurses.”

Thousands of nurses and allied healthcare workers are expected to join protests across the UK on Saturday calling for fair pay.

This article was updated at 09:40 on 7/8/2020 to include a statement from the RCN. 

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments