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Campaign so far

RCN members across the UK are campaigning to get the fair pay they deserve

April 2018

The online consultation on the three-year NHS pay deal opens to RCN members employed by the NHS in England. The consultation will run until 5 June 2018.

March 2018

New NHS pay deal for England announced
The new NHS pay deal, negotiated by the RCN and other NHS trade unions, proposes a pay increase of at least 6.5% over three years.

February 2018

RCN members march in London over NHS crisis. 

RCN members joined tens of thousands of protesters in London to fight for the future of the NHS. The event was organised by Health Campaigns Together and anti-austerity group the People’s Assembly, and culminated in a rally opposite Downing Street.


January 2018

The RCN urges government action as nurse numbers drop. The comments were made in response to NHS Digital figures that show one in 10 nurses are leaving the NHS in England each year, with more than 33,000 leaving last year.

November 2017

Philip Dunne MP, Minister of State for Health, says nursing staff deserve a fair pay package.

November 2017

Additional funding for a pay rise in England is pledged, so long as pay structure reform is forthcoming and productivity increases.

RCN Chief Executive Janet Davies welcomed the announcement but warned against the suggestion that any pay rise will be linked to nursing staff working even harder. 

November 2017

An RCN survey shows nursing staff are stretched to breaking point on pay.

Of the members who responded to the survey, 70% reported feeling financially worse off than they were five years ago, while 24% say they are thinking of leaving their job because of money worries.

October 2017

The RCN repeats calls for above inflation pay rise as research shows four in 10 nurses earn below the minimum income standard.

October 2017

Frontline nursing staff handed a petition of 67,000 names to Downing Street, opposing the UK Government’s policy on public sector pay.


October 2017

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announces that the 1% pay cap for NHS staff has been scrapped, in a victory for the RCN and its members. 

“Our members in every corner of the UK fought hard and can be proud of this achievement.”, said Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive. 

September 2017

The RCN warns that it will move towards balloting members on industrial action if the 1% cap on NHS pay is not lifted in the November budget.


September 2017

The RCN joins with 13 NHS trade unions to call on the UK Government to scrap the 1% pay cap, match wage increases to inflation and restore lost pay.

September 2017

Thousands of members make their voices heard at Parliament Square, in the College's largest ever rally.

September 2017

RCN releases new poll showing public support for #scrapthecap campaign and nursing staff.

70% of voters told YouGov that the NHS now lacks adequate nursing staff. A similar proportion believes nurses are underpaid for their work.

The exclusive YouGov research also found that more than half the public said they are willing to pay more tax to make the NHS safer.

August 2017

Members take #scrapthecap viral on the campaign's digital day of action.

July 2017

RCN members hold second pay day protests across the UK.

June 2017

RCN members hold pay day protests across the UK

June 2017

Health sector unions write to the Prime Minister, asking her to show a ‘change of direction’ in the Queen’s Speech.

June 2017

Summer of Protest begins with 30 events across the United Kingdom.

May 2017

RCN report finds more than 40,000 nurse vacancies in England.

May 2017

Pay poll results announced at RCN Congress. 91% of respondents agree to take action in response to the pay cap. Summer of protest announced.

April 2017

RCN launch a poll of members working in the NHS to gauge appetite for action on pay.

March 2017

Chancellor Phillip Hammond announces the continuation of the 1% pay cap across all four UK countries.

March 2017

Record numbers of nursing staff apply for RCN Foundation hardship grants.

January 2017

MPs debate the cap on nursing pay. There is cross-party consensus for the Government to scrap the cap. On the same day, over 40 RCN members lobby MPs in Parliament.

January 2017

A petition by RCN member Danielle Tiplady, which calls on the Government to scrap the cap, reaches 100,000 signatures.

October 2016

11,000 RCN members write to the Chancellor ahead of the Autumn Statement, urging him to scrap the cap.

October 2016

Cavell Nurses' Trust report finds nursing staff are twice as likely to be unable to afford basic necessities.

September 2016

RCN evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body shows that average earnings for qualified nurses have fallen in real terms by 13.6% between 2010 and 2016.

Average earnings for health care assistants and assistant health practitioners fell by 9.3% in real terms over the same period.

July 2016

New research from The Institute of Employment Studies reveals one in three nurses due to retire in the next 10 years.

November 2015

Members in Northern Ireland seek a ballot in response to ‘real hardship faced by hardworking nursing staff.’

November 2015

RCN launches Nursing Counts campaign in response to another year of pay restraint.

September 2015

RCN evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body shows that Band 5 average earnings have fallen in real terms by 10.3% between 2010 and 2015.

July 2015

Chancellor George Osbourne announces formal 1% pay cap until 2019.

February 2015

RCN Frontline First report highlights that the NHS is projected to spend at least £980 million on agency nursing staff by the end of the year.


One-off 1% increase for staff at the top of pay bands in England and Northern Ireland.

1% increase for staff earning over £21,000 in Scotland, but pay freeze for staff earning over £21,000 in Wales.


RCN Frontline First report highlights 20,000 nurse vacancies in England and warns that the UK is heading for a nursing shortage.


Pay freeze continues.


Pay freeze introduced for staff earning over £21,000.


2.25% increase for staff earning over £21,000 across all four UK countries.

Page last updated - 27/07/2018