But you’d be forgiven for thinking that nothing has changed, your salary is just the same, despite Jeremy Hunt’s announcement on 10 October.
Some of you are asking us why we’re celebrating when you’re still bringing home the same amount of money every week.
Unfortunately change like this does not happen overnight. The first step of getting more money into your pocket was to scrap the Government-imposed cap. This was holding back the Pay Review Body from recommending a fair and sensible increase.
Now that the cap has gone the PRB are freed up to make an above 1% recommendation to the Government, and we are submitting verifiable evidence to this group to push for them to do so.
You may also have read reports that NHS staff may have to forfeit aspects of established terms and conditions, known as the Agenda for Change (AfC) agreement, in order to find the money for a pay rise. Senior staff at the RCN are taking part in NHS staff council negotiations alongside other union representatives to ensure that things like unsocial hours payments and pay bands remain protected and that the pay rise is not funded through other cuts. We understand that unsocial hours payment will not be under question.
Since AfC was first implemented a decade ago, the RCN has been involved in negotiations to vigorously defend these terms and conditions and we continue to do this. Attempted attacks on AfC are not a new thing and our organisation has a great deal of experience at negotiating at a very senior level.
Suggesting increased productivity is ridiculous at a time when the NHS is understaffed by 40,000 nurses. We are working extremely hard behind the scenes to ensure you get an award you deserve. But this cannot and will not happen overnight.
Nurses in every sector are also working hard, doing extra and in many cases are worn out. We are keeping the pressure on MPs and will continue to do so until this is settled.
The PRB will report in the spring and make its recommendation to the Government.
Jeremy Hunt will then announce the pay award for the year ahead.
When the announcement is made, RCN Council will consult members and all options, including balloting for industrial action, remain on the table.