Nurses in England, Scotland and Wales have already received their pay awards for the current year, backdated to April. Yet in Northern Ireland, no pay award has been made.
The RCN, along with the other health trade unions in Northern Ireland, has been in discussion with the Department of Health for some months now in relation to a pay award for 2018-2019. The unions have asked the Department to fund an interim 3% pay award for HSC staff on Agenda for Change pay, terms and conditions.
The trade unions met the Department of Health Officials and employers on 9 November 2018 to learn that a unilateral decision had been made as to the outcome of any pay deal here. A financial bid to the Department of Finance had been prepared and submitted on that basis. This bid fell short of the interim proposal put to the Department and employers on 26 September 2018.
We are extremely disappointed at the lack of respect shown to the Joint Negotiating and Consultative Forum, to partnership working, collective leadership, co production and design, and to them as representatives of staff employed in health and social care. Following due consideration, the collective trade unions determined that no further progress could be made at this time and that we should consult our members about a ballot for industrial action.
All RCN members currently working under a contract of employment with an HSC employer in Northern Ireland will receive an email from the RCN on Monday 12 November 2018. This will ask: “If the HSC trade unions and staff side organisations, which are currently in discussions and are consulting with the Department of Health and employers on a pay uplift and refresh framework for Agenda for Change terms and conditions for 2018-2019 and beyond are unable to reach agreement, would you be prepared to be balloted formally for industrial action?”
It is vital that you take a few moments to look at the information and respond to the RCN. Our future course of action on pay will be determined by what you and other members tell us. You have until Monday 26 November to vote. If you are an RCN member working in the HSC, you can complete the survey here.