The chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, Janet Davies, has personally apologised to members for communication of the NHS pay agreement, after it was discovered they would not receive the uplift they expected in their first pay packets.
It follows fury from many members after they discovered the rise in their July pay packets was considerably smaller than they initially thought.
Ms Davies said the deal was ‘not as straightforward as we said’, and wanted to offer a ‘personal sincere apology’.
In a statement, she added: ‘I’m as dismayed and angry as you are and I will fight the corner of members at every turn. In good faith, we told all members that they would receive a 3% uplift this summer. I now find that this is not the case for everyone. I can assure you that I am demanding answers for you.
‘In the meantime, I can only apologise for this unnecessary confusion and assure you that I am determined to resolve it. Your elected Council and Trade Union Committee will be meeting in the next few days and I will update you on next steps.’
The RCN told members during the consultation period that they would receive a 3% pay rise in July, but it was later revealed that this would only apply to those at the top of their pay bands.
All other staff not at the top of their bands would receive, on average, 1.5% in July, with the remainder following on the date of their increment.
According to the RCN, it’s at this point when the ‘benefits of the reform part of the deal kick in and staff will receive a further increase’.
But many nurses feel this was not made clear during the consultation, with online calculators, including that from NHS Employers, showing a combination of pay award, reform and increments that gave the impression of a much larger increase.
The organisation’s less-widely publicised pay journey tool gave a more accurate representation of how the pay deal was structured; showing nurses ‘what they can expect to see in their basic pay packet’, and when it would be received.
The lack of communication has led to a group of RCN members to create an online petition, calling for an emergency general meeting after feeling ‘misled’ during the pay deal consultation.