The majority of us would get a 5% pay increase, with those on band 1 and point 1 of band 2 getting slightly more. The offer is backdated until 1 April this year.
This falls far short of the RCN’s calls in our Fair Pay for Nursing campaign for an increase of the RPI rate of inflation plus 5%. With inflation reaching a 40 year high of 9.1%, the level of increase we have been campaigning for is absolutely necessary to recruit and retain skilled nursing staff.
Already, since the offer was made public, I’ve heard the full range of reactions from RCN members. Everything from ‘This is a joke after everything we’ve been through in the past two years!’ to ‘I could really use 5% extra in my pay right now, given the huge increases in the cost of living’.
I understand both reactions. Most of us are suffering financially. The increase in national insurance in April, and rising fuel costs, energy prices and food prices are forcing some colleagues into serious financial hardship, where they must choose between feeding their family or putting petrol in the car. Colleagues in the community who use their cars to get to their patients are essentially subsidising the health and care service – the 5p increase in mileage allowance is nowhere near enough to compensate for the dramatic rise in fuel prices. So a pay increase is much needed.
Equally, the offer is nowhere near what is needed to make up for years of pay restraint that has left our salaries at least 8% behind inflation, and to recognise our true value as a safety-critical, highly-skilled profession.
Given the strength of feeling and range of views already expressed about the offer, it is right that we give due consideration to the response. Your RCN member representatives on RCN Scotland Board, RCN Trade Union Committee and RCN Council are currently considering the next steps. Many members may feel impatient and want to respond quickly, whatever their view on the offer. But it is important that we work through the process in the best interests of all our members.
We are doing this now and will update members shortly. Please do make sure you stay connected. Check our Fair Pay for Nursing webpages, look out for emails in your inbox and check Twitter and Facebook – however it is that you get your information, look out for updates.