Royal College of Nursing launches Fair Pay for Nursing campaign

28 Aug 2020

Fair pay for nursing

Fair pay for nursing campaign logo

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) today launches its ‘Fair Pay for Nursing’ campaign to demand a 12.5% pay rise for nursing staff across the UK.


Focussing initially on an immediate pay rise for nursing staff in the NHS across the UK, it aims to raise the bar, and so also benefit nursing staff working for independent employers.


Following engagement with RCN members, the ‘Fair Pay for Nursing’ campaign aims to secure a fully funded 12.5% pay increase for all staff covered by Agenda for Change, as part of a one-year deal that applies equally to all bands.


The RCN says a pay rise will:

  • recognise the skill, accountability and expertise of a safety critical profession;
  • recognise that the salaries of nursing staff have not kept pace with increases in the cost of living; and
  • help provide safe and effective patient care for all people of the UK by addressing the staffing crisis within nursing.

Today, there are an estimated 50,000 registered nurse vacancies in the NHS in the UK, impacting the safety of patients as well as morale and well-being in the nursing profession – at a time when these are crucial.


Worryingly, there are signs that the pressures on the nursing workforce could increase. A recent survey of 42,000 RCN members showed that 35% are thinking of leaving the profession this year, with more than half citing pay as a factor.


Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said:


“The Fair Pay for Nursing campaign is about recognising the skill, experience and responsibility demonstrated every day, in every year, by nursing support workers, nursing associates, registered nurses and all members of the profession.


“This is about more than the profession’s response to COVID-19 – it is about increasing the attractiveness of the profession, to fill tens of thousands of unfilled nursing jobs and reach safe staffing levels. It is time to pay nursing staff fairly.”


Pat Cullen, Director of the RCN in Northern Ireland added:


“Nurses in Northern Ireland are only too aware of the impact of not having enough nurses to care for patients. This is why they took the difficult decision to take industrial action earlier this year and why we fought so hard for the guarantee that safe nurse staffing legislation would be implemented here.


“We need to ensure that nursing remains an attractive profession and that we are training and retaining the right numbers of nurses in order to do this. The public have made it clear that they value the profession – we must ensure their pay reflects this.”


Graham Revie, Chair of the RCN’s Trade Union Committee, said:


“Our pay demand reflects the knowledge, skills and responsibilities of the complex job we do. RCN members have told us they expect things to change, and we will fight for that change. The RCN is its members and together we can achieve fair pay for nursing.


“Funding our health and care system is a political choice. Nursing is the largest heath and care workforce in the UK. It has been underfunded, understaffed and undervalued. The government should make the right choice now.”


The RCN will continue to work with other health unions to call on the UK governments to provide nursing and health care staff with an early and substantive pay rise. 

Page last updated - 27/01/2021