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Letter to the UK Health Secretary requesting urgent negotiations and an improved NHS pay offer in England

14 April 2023

Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP
Secretary of State
Department for Health and Social Care
39 Victoria Street

Dear Secretary of State,

I write to inform you of the result of our consultative ballot on your additional NHS pay offer for 2022-23 and new NHS pay offer for 2023-24. The offer in its entirety was put to RCN members working in the NHS in England for their vote from 28 March to 14 April.

Our members have sent a clear message – a majority have voted to reject the offer. I ask that we meet without delay to discuss a way forward.

The results are as follows:

61% of eligible members voted

46% voted to accept the offer

54% voted to reject the offer

This being the outcome, our formal dispute regarding NHS pay in England remains.

What has been offered to date is simply not enough. The government needs to increase what has already been offered and we will be highly critical of any move to reduce what has already been offered.

Since our talks in February, we have seen the pressures on the NHS continue to increase. The crisis in our health and care services cannot be addressed without significant action that addresses urgent recruitment and retention issues and nursing pay to bring this dispute to a close urgently.

Until there is a significantly improved offer, we are forced back to the picket line. NHS employers in England will be informed today of further strike action. The strike will run round-the-clock and without derogations from 8pm on 30 April to 8pm on 2 May 2023. Meetings alone are not sufficient to prevent strike action and I will require an improved offer as soon as possible. In February, you opened negotiations directly with me and I urge you to do the same now.

Furthermore, we will now conduct a new England-wide statutory ballot for strike action, in respect of both the 2022-23 and 2023-24 pay years and in accordance with the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

After a historic vote to strike, our members expect a historic pay award.

Yours sincerely,

Pat Cullen
General Secretary & Chief Executive

Page last updated - 30/09/2023