RCN says staff ‘need to be realistic’ about pay

The Royal College of Nursing has said that staff ‘need to be realistic’ about pay in a challenging economic climate.

Following the announcement of ‘pay modernisation’, the Royal College of Nursing has been working alongside 14 other trade unions to negotiate a pay deal for 1.3 million NHS staff but says staff “need to be realistic” about negotiations.

A statement, posted on the Royal College of Nursing website, explains that staff “need to be realistic” about pay negotiations as a challenging economic climate combined with a poor post-Brexit outlook could hinder negotiations.

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Unions had previously called for a 3.9% pay rise plus an additional extra £800 to make up for the real-terms pay cut they have seen in recent years.

The statement also confirms that any funding promised by Chancellor in the budget, subject to a deal being reached, is a one-off payment and not an ongoing commitment to funding.

With official figures showing that the NHS is ‘haemorrhaging’ nurses with one in ten nurses leaving the NHS each year, the RCN admits the need to dispel the Government’s argument of productivity – as it’s clear nurses can’t work any harder.

Josie Irwin, RCN Associate Director Employment Relations and the RCN’s Chief Negotiator, writes;

“We do, however, need to be realistic in our negotiations.

“The money the Chancellor has promised if a deal can be done is a one-off. Economic conditions may be challenging now but the outlook post Brexit, which is scarily close – just over a year to go – is of even greater uncertainty. If we can’t do a deal now we are looking at the return of the cap or perhaps worse.

“As with all negotiations, the devil will be in the detail and the extent to which all the parties – trade unions, employers, governments – feel they have won something. If we reach the stage when negotiators feel they have got the best possible package, members will be consulted and you will have your say.

“We may not be able to do it all at once, but if we start the journey now and agree investment in reform over the longer term this will provide vital security against the uncertain economic and political environment post Brexit.

Pay negotiations are ongoing and NHS pay review body will submit it’s recommendations to the Government in March 2018.

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