The latest RCN Joint Representatives’ Conference took place in Milton Keynes at the end of an intense but successful Summer of Protest.
RCN South East Regional Director Patricia Marquis got the event underway with a well-deserved celebration of all the hard work and effort that led to the incredible achievement of the cap being officially scrapped.
“Although there is still much to be done, getting the cap scrapped is a huge achievement and it’s all down to you,” she said.
This was always going to be a marathon not a sprint
She acknowledged it had been a tiring few months for all involved, but reminded reps: “This was always going to be a marathon not a sprint.”
Reps were urged to continue lobbying MPs and remain active in the fight for fair pay.
The RCN is aiming to secure an above inflation pay rise, but this remains challenging during political uncertainty and in the face of continuing government funding pressures.
Support the size of Mount Everest
Jane Hughes, RCN Deputy Director of Communications and Campaigns, told delegates the 67,000 Scrap the Cap postcards sent to MPs would stand one and a half times the height of Mount Everest if placed end to end.
However, 47,000 of these were completed by members of the public, with only 10,000 officially credited to nursing staff. “There’s an obvious need to do more to engage our 430,000 members to actively join us to improve nursing pay and conditions,” she said.
‘Don’t put away your boxing gloves yet’
RCN General Secretary Janet Davies told the packed hall they were “absolutely fabulous” after their hard work campaigning over the summer to scrap the cap.
“This was a regionalised campaign from the beginning and that’s what made a difference. This has shown the value of us all working together as partners,” she said.
She continued with a rallying cry that the fight for fair pay must go on: “Our work is not over. With the pay review body coming up we need to get a good deal, so don’t put away your boxing gloves just yet.”
Janet also highlighted other key priorities for the RCN including safe staffing, training for nursing associates and regulating health care assistants.
Making a difference
Many reps wanted to make a difference so signed up to be changemakers at the launch of The Value of Reps: In Our Own Words publication. Download it today.