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.
Following the conclusion of this consultation, the RCN and the other health trade unions in Northern Ireland published a joint statement setting out the next steps. You can read the statement here.