With vacancies on the island becoming harder to fill, managers are left with no option other than to turn to agency staff to fill the gaps.
To the end of October 2019, the agency bill for agenda for change staff is £4.76m compared to £4m for all of 2018. The overtime bill for nurses until the end of October is also standing at £2m.
Kenny Lloyd, RCN convenor, says: “We had a feeling that agency staff were being used more and more to fill in the gaps, but these figures confirm it. A rising agency bill is unsustainable in the long term and it shows that issues with retention have to be addressed. To be constantly told that there is no money in the pot and yet to see these figures is yet another slap in the face for nurses.”
Following a meeting with the Independent Disputes Officer (IDO) the RCN (along with the other unions) agreed to ballot on the final offer from the States. On a turnout of 51%, 89% of members voted to reject the offer which means the Industrial Action ballot will be started in January.Lindsay Meeks, RCN Regional Director, says: “Asking our members to take part in yet another ballot on a barely improved offer was frustrating. We knew what the outcome would be before the process even started. However, we’ve balloted now and the results speak for themselves. Everyone knows the reasons why we are where we are, we now need to regroup and prepare for the industrial action ballot that will come.”