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Nurses in Northern Ireland to vote on proposed HSC pay settlement

Nurses in Northern Ireland to vote on proposed HSC pay settlement

Pay talks in Northern Ireland have resulted in a proposed 5% consolidated uplift and £1,505 non-consolidated payment for Health and Social Care (HSC) nurses.

Negotiations between the Department of Health and trade unions have now concluded and the deal – which includes all HSC workers covered by the Agenda for Change framework – will be put to union members via ballot.

If accepted, the settlements will be backdated to April 2023.

Nursing staff in Northern Ireland have been waiting on a pay award since April 2023, and took strike action over the issue in January.

Health minister Robin Swann acknowledged that pay settlements for 2023/24 were ‘long overdue’, having been delayed by ‘political and budgetary instability’.

He also commended the trade unions representing Agenda for Change staff for their ‘constructive negotiations’.

‘Staff are the backbone of health and social care services and deserve to be properly rewarded for their work,’ Mr Swann said.

‘The unions will now ballot their members and I want them to be given the time and space for this to happen,’ he added.

While the 5% pay uplift for HSC workers would restore parity with NHS workers in England, the pay deal for the latter included two one-off payments worth between £1,655 and £3,789 for full-time staff.

Rita Devlin, the Royal College of Nursing’s Northern Ireland director, said the union was ‘extremely disappointed’ that the non-consolidated element of the pay deal fell short of the settlement in England.

‘While we recognise that there has been progress on this issue, many will be disheartened at not receiving the same amount as nursing staff across England,’ she said.

‘For some, this will leave them hundreds of pounds out of pocket.’

Ms Devlin added: ‘In the longer term this pay award does little to restore the significant reduction in pay nurses have suffered over a decade which has left them worse off.

‘We will be launching a consultation on this proposed pay settlement with our members shortly and it will be up to each member to look closely at what the pay offer means for them and to decide how to vote.’

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