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10 things to say about pay

The Fair Pay for Nursing campaign is vitally important – if nursing staff aren’t paid fairly, thousands of unfilled nursing jobs can’t be filled and patients are the first to suffer.

This year, the RCN is demanding a pay award that goes 5% above inflation. RCN members are urged to talk to colleagues, friends and families about the campaign, by using these talking points, to make sure the importance of fair pay is understood and acted on.

1. It’s a matter of safety
There are currently tens of thousands of nursing vacancies across the UK. Fair pay is an obvious way to retain and recruit nursing staff and achieve staffing levels that are safe for members and patients.

2. It’s affordable
Funding health and social care is a political choice – Ministers have the opportunity to invest in nursing. Governments can choose to put the money into the NHS. They cannot afford not to do this.

3. It’s sustainable
Our health and care services are overwhelmed. Paying nursing staff fairly helps build a workforce that can meet the needs of the population now and in the future.

4. It’s needed and deserved
Cost of living is spiralling out of control. But nursing has faced pay cuts for the past decade. Between 2011-2021, all Agenda for Change bands fell in value by between 9 and 14%. Nursing needs and deserves better so patients receive the best and safest care.

5. Members are mobilised
In ballots across the UK, you made clear that the pay you were awarded for 2021-22 is unacceptable. A significant number said you’re willing to take industrial action in protest. Members are rightly angry and have sent a clear signal to governments.

6. It’s a political choice
Governments across the UK can do the right thing by nursing at any time. We are a patient safety-critical profession that the government must protect. 

7. Our strength is in our numbers
If we were to ever take industrial action, at least 50% of members would need to vote in a ballot. Decision makers need to see enough members demand change. When you are asked on the pay you’re awarded or offered this year, take the chance to advocate for yourself and the profession. Every voice counts.

8. We can make a difference
Through successful campaigning, members have secured pay parity in Northern Ireland, scrapped the public sector pay cap, reintroduced financial support for students and improved working conditions during the pandemic.

9. The fight for fair pay continues
Now more than ever, we must maintain momentum in the campaign. We need to demand change for ourselves, our profession and our patients to achieve fair pay.

10. Change starts with you
Having conversations like this one with colleagues is the single most important thing you can do. Spread the word about pay. Nursing deserves better but we must advocate for ourselves and demonstrate that we will demand change for ourselves and our patients.

Watch and share this video to help take the campaign further.

Fair Pay protest

How late is this year's NHS pay award?

The nursing profession is left waiting once again

Page last updated - 01/04/2022