Give nurses a "fair deal" over pay, says RCN leader
A proposed three-year pay settlement deal for public sector workers must protect nurses from any future rises in inflation, Royal College of Nursing (RCN) General Secretary Dr Peter Carter has said.
Reacting to the announcement by the prime minister that public sector workers, including nurses, could have their salaries set for three years rather than 12 months, Dr Carter said:
"Irrespective of whether salaries are set for three years or 12 months, what nurses want and deserve is a fair deal. And given that mortgages, council tax, transport costs and energy bills are all on the rise right now, a fair deal for nurses is one that reflects the real cost of living."
Gordon Brown announced yesterday (8 January 2008) that it was vital to secure a "low inflation economy" that has the "flexibility to make the right decisions".
Establishing fixed pay deals over three years with workers such as nurses and teachers would help control inflation and make it easier for workers to budget for the long-term, the prime minister said.
Chancellor Alistair Darling said the UK has a low level of inflation compared with the US and Eurozone. Three-year pay deals woud not only help keep inflation down but also help government departments manage their spending plans, he said.
But Dr Carter of the RCN insisted: "If we were to sign up to a long-term pay settlement in today's volatile economy we must have a mechanism that will protect the living standards of nurses from any future rises in inflation.
"What's right now may not be right in two years' time.
"There are good multi-year deals and bad multi-year deals. The difference between the two depends on how much is on the table. So we await with interest the full details of what the government has in mind."
"Public sector workers have to be careful here because the economy is very volatile and we do not have control on the economy, so when it come to pay we should take on account the offer projected over 3 years. In fact in the computer age that should not be difficult to achieve and the Royal College of Nurses and Unison can do that easily" - Name and address supplied
"No a three-year settlement is not satisfactory. As usual nurses will be getting a worse deal than their medical colleagues" - Mary Mc Connell, Newry and Mourne Locality Southern Trust, N Ireland