As reported in the Guardian on Sunday, The Royal College of Nursing has revealed four out of five members (78%) are set to walkout over the cap on pay rises.
It was revealed they will stage a “Summer of protest activity” at their annual conference with their plan highlighting the dissatisfaction over pay. A second ballot will be taken before any action happens.
It was also revealed this week, that 1 in 9 vacancies within the sector are left unfilled, and according to the RCN, this is part of the reason Nurses are suffering low pay. The Health Foundation Charity found that by 2020 the shortfall could be 42000 Nurses, with almost half of all Nurses believing staffing levels are already stretched.
A formal pay cap of 1% was introduced in 2015, however due to inflatorary rises, this actually equates to a 14% cut since 2010.
Nurses have been left struggling, attending food banks, and some even looking for jobs in supermarkets, to try and make ends meet.
Janet Davies, General Secretary for the RCN haas commented: ” What’s happened today is unprecedented for the RCN and is a reflection of the deep anger members feel. The current conditions in the NHS are driving people out of the profession and putting new people off entering it. Our argument is not with patients. This is about ensuring they get the safe and effective care they need. The 1% cap on nursing pay is putting patients at risk.”
The industrial action will take place across the UK, including Scotland, where their terms are set separately by the Scottish Government. Their Ministers are being pressured to lift a cap which has seen their Nurses’ pay fall by 14%. Although Nicola Sturgeon has accepted it is “unacceptable to see them using food banks”, she is still defending their upholding of the 1% cap.
Mrs Sturgeon believes they’ve “done more than any other Government to protect the pay of Nurses.” Bursaries were protected and they were exempt from tuition fees, with the only downfall that starting salaries were £300 less than in England. The SNP last week refused proposals to raise pay by above 1%.
A spokesman from the Conservative party said “the only way we can increase NHS funding, staffing or pay is to get a good Brexit deal so the economy prospers in the years ahead.”
To see Labour’s reaction to the announcement, see our Facebook page (@LCSlegal).