The RCN is urging members to accept a new NHS pay deal for England, which will see all nursing staff get a pay rise. Around 50%, who are at the top of their bands, will get 6.5% over three years. Others could get much more, up to 29%.
The deal, negotiated jointly by the RCN and other NHS trade unions, comes with changes to the NHS pay structure, which reduce the number of pay points in each band and remove the current overlap between bands. It means starting salaries will increase and staff will be able to progress to the top of their band quicker.
Around half of staff will receive a pay rise of at least 6.5% over three years, but many will receive much more, up to 29%. It’s because some pay points in the middle of bands will be removed and staff on these will automatically move up to the point above as changes come in.
Payments for working unsocial hours have been protected and staff will not have to sacrifice any annual leave as was previously reported.
Failure to accept it will put us back to square one
Lors Allford, Chair of the Trade Union Committee, which will decide whether the RCN accepts the deal after consulting with members, said: “This is the best pay deal in ten years from a Government that is still committed to austerity. Failure to accept it will put us back to square one, and at risk of returning to the 1% pay rises we’ve fought so hard to overturn.
“This is our chance to lock in a pay deal for three years, that not only guarantees our members will get more money, but simplifies the pay structure so that they get recognised for their increasing skill and experience quicker. It provides certainty at a time of great political and economic uncertainty and I urge members to accept it.”
What’s the deal?
A pay rise for everyone
Every member working for the NHS in England will get a pay rise. Around 50%, who are at the top of their bands, will get 6.5% over three years. Others could get much more, up to 29%, as changes to the pay structure come in.
Quicker progression to the top of pay bands
The pay structure is being simplified as part of the deal. The number of points in each band is being reduced, so you’ll be on the highest rate for your band sooner and get more money faster. Overlaps between pay bands are being removed so when you’re promoted you’ll be properly rewarded for it.
Improved recruitment potential
The deal comes with higher starting salaries for each band, which will help attract new staff to nursing roles. For the first time in NHS England, the lowest paid rates will be above the living wage.
Unchanged unsocial hours payments
We know unsocial hours payments are an essential part of members’ pay packages. The RCN successfully protected them in this deal.
Untouched annual leave
You may have heard that staff would have to sacrifice a day of annual leave as part of this deal. This is not the case. The RCN and other unions defended members’ entitlement to annual leave and it will stay the same.
What will it mean in real terms?
The deal will result in different pay rises for different people, dependent on what band and spine point they’re on. The best way to find out what each member will get is to use the NHS joint union pay calculator
The examples given below provide an overview of how starting salaries will increase and the pay structure simplified to benefit nursing staff.
The band 3 care worker
Mary has recently been recruited as a band 3 care worker. Her starting salary is £16,968. Under current arrangements it would take her six years to get to the top of her band to be paid £19,852. With the deal in place, Mary would start on a salary of £17,787 and reach the top of her band after two years, earning £21,142.
The newly registered nurse
John has just qualified and has started work as a band 5 nurse. He earns £22,128. It would take him seven years to get to the top of his band currently, when he would earn £28,746. With the deal in place, he would start on a salary of £23,023 and it would take him four years to get to the top of his band, when he would get paid £30,615.
The senior nurse
Elizabeth has just taken on a band 8a role. Her current salary is £40,428 and she’ll get £48,514 after five years. With the deal in place, her starting salary would be £42,414 and would climb to £51,668 after five years.
How can I spread the word?
The RCN is producing leaflets and posters to explain the deal. These will be sent to regional and country offices, with copies sent directly to reps. You can use these to spark conversations with members and inform them of what’s going on. Workplace meetings will also be set up. These will be led by RCN staff but activists will be vital in getting members along, spreading the word and encouraging them to vote yes. Details of these will be posted on the RCN nursing pay website in the coming weeks.
What about other countries?
The deal is for staff working for the NHS in England only. However, it provides funding for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to replicate the pay framework if employers, governments and trade unions agree to it.
How can members have a say?
NHS trade unions will be consulting their members about the NHS pay deal soon. The RCN is no different. The next few weeks will be an opportunity to share information and get members up to speed on the deal. Then on 23 April it’ll go to a vote. Each member working for the NHS in England will be asked to respond yes or no to a single question in an online survey. They’ll need their membership number to take part. The survey will close on 5 June after which time the results will be considered.
How will a decision be made?
Ultimately, the decision to accept or reject the deal will rest with the RCN Trade Union Committee, made up of elected members from each region and country. They’ll consider the outcome of the online survey and determine next steps.
Why should we vote yes?
This is the best pay deal in eight years from a Government that is still committed to austerity. The RCN considers it to be the best that can be negotiated at this time. The deal delivers better starting salaries, a modernised pay system, faster progress to the top of pay grades, promotion that means promotion, and a pay increase for everyone. The RCN is urging members to accept the deal.
What if we vote no?
If the NHS unions reject the offer, it is likely that pay recommendations would be made by the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) and as the £4.2 billion of extra funding agreed by the Treasury would no longer be available, the offer could revert to the 1% of previous years.
'Your hard work has paid off'
Lors Allford, Chair of the RCN Trade Union Committee, says the pay deal has come about due the the campaigning efforts of members
"I know how hard we’ve fought for better pay. We’ve held protests, walked the wards, talked to the public, visited MPs and shared our experiences in the media. We’ve got our voices heard and it’s down to us that the cap has been lifted on nursing pay.
"The deal on the table now is better than any other public sector workers have been offered, and that’s testament to your hard work and campaigning. The Government has listened and agreed to a deal that’s significantly better than we’ve seen in the last eight years.
This deal is significantly better than we’ve seen in the last eight years
"It means as much as 29% and at least 6.5% for the majority of members over the next three years, as well as pay reliability at a time of great political and economic uncertainty. It also means a simpler pay structure, so that staff reach the top of their pay band faster, and promotion that really means promotion, which helps staff retention.
"It’s thanks to the partnership work of NHS trade unions, alongside the tireless campaigning of RCN members that the Government has agreed to find the money to pay for this deal.
"We believe it’s the best deal we can get and we urge you to accept it. The alternative risks returning to the 1% pay rises we fought so hard to overturn."