The RCN's fight for fair pay will continue as UK governments award inadequate pay uplift.
Nursing staff in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive a 1% pay increase after the four governments accepted the recommendations of the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB).
This follows Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement in his July Budget that public sector pay would be capped at 1% for the next four years.
The increase will apply to all points on the Agenda for Change pay scale from 1 April 2016.
The RCN said it was encouraging the governments had accepted the PRB’s recommendations but that nurses couldn’t afford for pay constraint to continue.
Since 2010, nursing pay has fallen by at least 14% in real terms, and increasingly staff are taking out loans and second jobs, just to make ends meet.
“The fact remains that pay awards for NHS staff have been severely constrained since 2010,” stressed RCN Chief Executive Janet Davies.
“As nursing pay has fallen further behind inflation, this decision will do nothing to relieve ongoing issues of staff shortages.”
The RCN has been consistently telling the Government that its members are struggling to make ends meet and are questioning whether they can afford to continue nursing.
“The earnings of the people who are looking after us and keeping our health service going have fallen way behind everyone else. Worse, they have fallen way behind inflation,” Janet added.
“More and more nurses and health care assistants are being forced to consider their future in the profession they love.
“Nurses cannot afford for this to continue, and neither can the health service.”
The RCN will continue to fight for nurses and health care assistants to receive fair pay through its Nursing Counts campaign.
RCN members are encouraged to speak up on nursing pay by completing a series of simple actions, such as ordering free campaigning materials, and completing the Nursing Counts pay calculator.
A pay award that doesn’t reflect the value of nursing is bad for patients too, the College argues.