In Northern Ireland, the situation is even worse than in the rest of the UK. Because of the absence of a Northern Ireland Executive and Assembly, nurses here still do not know whether or not they will receive a pay award this year. Colleagues in Scotland, England and Wales have already received a 1% increase from April 2017. This means that, currently, the take home pay for a Northern Ireland nurse is 3% less than a nurse on the same band, doing exactly the same job, in Scotland.
The campaign in Northern Ireland is currently focused on lobbying our MPs in order to highlight the issues and demand their support. RCN pay champions across Northern Ireland are also promoting the campaign messages with our members. This is being done through a series of workplace engagement activities, maintaining a high media and social media profile, and through local RCN branch events. The ultimate success of this campaign will depend on RCN members becoming active at a local level. I strongly urge members to become active in our campaign.
Whilst the message behind Scrap the Cap is simple, it is about much more than money. It’s about nurses being valued for the work they do and how this influences the severe shortages of nursing staff in Northern Ireland. We will be exploring these themes in more detail as the campaign progresses and will be seeking your views and experiences.
Nursing staff feel patronised, insulted, taken for granted, let down, angry and devalued. Now is the time to stand up and be counted.