Nurses fury over pay deal! – EGM called for September 28th

Nurses on the march against any pay cap – they are certain to make their point very forcibly at September’s EGM
Nurses on the march against any pay cap – they are certain to make their point very forcibly at September’s EGM

THE RCN Council has called an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) which will take place on 28/09/18 at 11.00 am at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Centenary Square, Broad Street, Birmingham, B1 2EP.

An external review into the governance and process surrounding the RCN’s understanding and communication of the 2018 NHS pay deal for England is currently underway and its findings will be the basis for the EGM debate.

RCN chief executive Janet Davies, who has resigned, issued an apology for ‘the misinformation’ concerning the wage offer. The ‘confusion’ centred on the backdating of pay for staff on increments, with the RCN erroneously telling members the three per cent pay award would be fully backdated to April. In fact, for those on increments the backdated amounts would only be paid at a 1.5 per cent rate.

The extraordinary general meeting (EGM) will debate the external review into the union’s response to the NHS pay offer for England, and then act on its findings.

RCN said it was ‘awaiting the full findings of a review into the past few months’ events’ and would then ‘take an informed decision as to the long-term executive leadership of the organisation.’

The union had said nurses would receive a 3% pay rise this month as part of a new three-year pay deal. But a number of nurses took to social media to say their pay had gone up by much less – in some cases by pennies.

Many expressed anger at the RCN and the government about the deal, with some nurses saying they felt they had been misled by their union. The RCN however added in a statement that it would not be reopening the deal.

‘Despite some delays to payments, over the three years the deal has to run, members will receive the full amount promised,’ a spokesman said.

‘We are sorry for any confusion caused about what members were due to receive this month.’

However, NHS Employers, which agreed the pay deal with the unions, said the agreement had never promised a 3% rise in the first year. Furious members of the Royal College of Nursing launched a petition calling for the union’s leaders to stand down over their handling of communications about this year’s NHS pay deal in England.

Anthony Johnson, a health visitor, RCN member and former ‘pay champion’ (members who help organise local action around pay) has said that the RCN ‘shouldn’t have trusted the government… It seems like they’ve just gone for the deal and been screwed over, but they’ve sold the deal so it’s their fault’.

Many NHS staff are furious with the government. Lauren Gavaghan, a consultant psychiatrist, tweeted that the debacle was ‘Jeremy Hunt’s parting gift to NHS staff.’

The EGM is certain to be lively and could lead to a major change in the RCN leadership.