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Next steps in our fight for fair NHS pay

16 Dec 2021

We will continue to build our campaigning strength to influence the pay award for 2022 and beyond.

Fair pay for nursing event Westminster We recently conducted indicative ballots of members working for the NHS in England, Wales and Scotland to assess their appetite for taking industrial action in response to their pay award for 2021-22.
The results of those ballots have been carefully considered by your elected members in each country and your voice has been heard.
In England, 23% of eligible members voted in the ballot asking what action they’d be willing to take in relation to the 3% NHS pay award. Of those, 89% said they would take action short of strike and 54% said they would withdraw their labour in strike action. 

Chair of the RCN Trade Union Committee Graham Revie said: “With hard work and determination, we mobilised 23% of eligible members to vote, with those making it clear they would consider taking industrial action. 

“However, many more members would need to vote before industrial action could be actioned – the law states turnout must be at least 50%. We therefore need your help to take forward our campaign into next year and maintain the momentum we have built together.”

Our focus in England will now turn to building on our success and influencing the next NHS pay award, due before summer 2022. Our goal is to make Agenda for Change work for nursing, so it accurately reflects the reality and complexity of the profession, which is vital to recruiting, retaining and motivating nursing staff. 

This will be set out in our submission to the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB), which has been asked by the UK government to recommend the pay award staff in England should get for 2022-23.
In Wales, we expect the Welsh government to issue a remit letter to the PRB asking it to make recommendations on NHS pay for next year.
In our indicative ballot of members there, 29% of eligible members voted, with 91% of those saying they would take action short of strike and 56% saying they would withdraw their labour in strike action over the 3% pay award for 2021-22. 

We are now considering our next steps in negotiating a fair pay deal for members in Wales. An announcement will be made in the new year. 

In the meantime, RCN Wales remains in a trade dispute with the Welsh government and has launched a new safe staffing campaign, For the Full Team

In Scotland, 29.3% of eligible members voted in the indicative ballot, with 89.5% of those saying they would take industrial action short of strike and 58.2% saying they would withdraw their labour in strike action.

The message members sent was heard by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care who, as soon as the result of the ballot was made public, offered to meet our elected representatives. 

“We left the Cabinet Secretary in no doubt that we remain in a trade dispute as we influence negotiations on your pay that the Scottish government has committed to for the 2022-23 pay award,” said Chair of the RCN Scotland Board Julie Lamberth. 

In Northern Ireland, we are preparing to conduct a consultative ballot of members working in Health and Social Care on whether they feel the 3% pay award announced recently is acceptable or unacceptable. This will be launched in January 2022. 

Across the UK, our fight for fair pay continues and won’t stop until our safety critical profession is respected and protected. 

“If you can do one thing, talk to one colleague about the campaign who might not already be engaged to help them understand that we can achieve change on pay if we come together,” Graham added. “Please stay engaged and keep campaigning - for yourself, your profession, and your patients.” 

Page last updated - 16/12/2021