Commenting on the recommendation from the Independent NHS Pay Review Body that health care staff should receive a 1% pay rise for 2017/2018, Janice Smyth, Director of the RCN in Northern Ireland said: “Nurses in Northern Ireland already receive less than their counterparts in the rest of the UK and a 1% pay rise does nothing to address this unacceptable inequity. As a result, the gap between income and the cost of living for nurses will continue to grow wider. At a time when there is a shortfall of up to 2000 nursing staff in the health system in Northern Ireland, this miserly recommendation will further dent the morale of hard working staff.
“This is yet another setback in the fight to ensure that nurses get a fair and acceptable pay rise. The absence of a functioning Northern Ireland Executive to make the final decision on this year’s pay award further adds to the anger and frustration felt by nursing staff. Once a new Northern Ireland Executive is established it needs to decide if it wants to stick to the 1% pay rise or if it is prepared to give nurses in Northern Ireland a fair and equitable pay award. RCN members in Northern Ireland have confirmed that, alongside safe staffing, fair pay is their top priority. The RCN will continue to campaign vigorously to secure a fair pay award for nurses.”