NURSES’ anger over the NHS pay sell-out has forced the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) to call an Emergency General Meeting in ‘late September’, after an online petition among members achieved the required 1,000 signatures.
Chair of the RCN Council, Maria Trewern said: ‘We will be letting you know the date and venue as soon as it is confirmed so that those of you who wish to attend can make your plans in good time. ‘The external review into the governance and process surrounding the RCN’s understanding and its communication of the 2018 NHS pay deal will be carried out by the Audit Compliance Team at Electoral Reform Services Limited.’ She added that ‘first phase of the work will be complete in time to inform the EGM in September.’
RCN member Joanne Benoit, 8 years a nurse at Ealing Hospital, told News Line yesterday: ‘It’s an outrage. The RCN leaders knew what they were doing recommending this pay award. And now they say they made a mistake – it’s unbelievable. Some nurses have got nothing!
‘The morale of nursing is under attack. Nurses are leaving and retiring and not being replaced. ‘If you haven’t got enough staff morale collapses, and no pay means more people will be leaving nursing. We work 12-hour shifts so we deserve a pay award that at least covers inflation. The trade unions should all strike together to defend the NHS.’ Joanne concluded: ‘I support the Young Socialists lobby of the TUC Congress on September 9th to demand a general strike to defend the NHS and a proper pay award for all health workers.’
The GMB union recommended its members vote against the government’s offer, rightly pointing out it is a pay cut. GMB national officer for the NHS Rachel Harrison tweeted yesterday: ‘#GMB won’t stop campaigning for Fair Pay for all staff in our #NHS – We always said this wasn’t a pay offer we could recommend to our members and now everyone can see why #ItsANoFromUs.’
Harrison said: ‘NHS staff have opened their pay cheques and realised it’s not the rise they thought they were going to get. And they are angry. The GMB is urging the government to get back round the table and commit to the proper pay rise our dedicated NHS workers deserve.’
Unison had recommended the pay offer. Unison assistant general secretary Christina McAnea claimed: ‘The pay deal was indeed complex, but it appears that the RCN general secretary had neither read nor understood the offer. It’s unfortunate that one person’s seeming lack of understanding has unleashed such an unhelpful and completely unnecessary wave of confusion for NHS staff.’