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Why we need to consult separately with RCN members in Scotland on NHS pay

 Stewart Donnelly 20 Apr 2018

Stewart Donnelly explains why RCN Scotland Board have taken the decision to consult members in Scotland separately on NHS pay.

RCN Scotland Board has today (Friday 20 April) unanimously taken the decision to consult our members in Scotland working in the NHS on a pay deal separately from those in other UK countries.
You will no longer be asked to endorse the deal on offer in England, as had previously been planned. 

You will be asked to vote on a Scotland-specific pay deal following negotiations in Scotland, scheduled to conclude in late June.

This is not a decision your Board members have taken lightly. The RCN’s strength lies in its membership and the collective voice of the membership across the UK is strong. We just have to look back to the summer of ‘Scrap the Cap’ to recognise that.

But circumstances have changed quite a bit since a four-country consultation on a deal for NHS staff in England was announced.

The four-country approach was agreed at a time when it wasn’t clear or certain how the Scottish Government would react to the announcement in England. NHS pay is a devolved issue and the Scottish Government could have chosen to go its own way. 

It would not be good for patients or staff if significantly different pay structures and terms and conditions of employment emerged in different parts of the UK. Understanding your view on a similar deal for NHS staff in Scotland would have given the RCN powerful leverage. 

But this is no longer required, as the Scottish Government has agreed in principle to the framework being proposed. This, combined with the joint negotiating position adopted by the health trade unions in Scotland, means that we’ve got a firm foundation for agreeing a favourable deal in Scotland.  

It’s right and proper that you have your say on pay. And it’s also right and proper that you get to debate the issues with other members. We’ve seen this happening on the deal in England. Genuinely held views have been shared in sometimes passionate exchanges between members. This is all part of being a member of a trade union.

But it’s most important to have the debate based on the facts. We want you to have the best opportunity to make an informed decision about your future pay. And that should be based on the full details of a Scotland-specific deal, when they are known.

The consultation for members in England will start on Monday 23 April and the RCN will keep members fully updated on details of a Scotland-specific NHS pay deal and consultation process.

So, please get involved. Check the dedicated NHS pay webpage for updates and social media, and look out for emails in your inbox over the coming weeks.

And please remember to login on the RCN website and update your details to make sure you don’t miss out on these important updates.

Stewart Donnelly

RCN Scotland Board Chair

Employee Director in NHS Ayrshire and Arran

Stewart has worked in the NHS for over 37 years and became an RCN steward in the mid-1980s. He has held a variety of roles in the RCN Ayrshire and Arran Branch, from chair to secretary to treasurer. Stewart is the former Vice Chair of RCN Scottish Board.