The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has opened its consultation today on the new NHS pay deal, allowing members to vote in favour or against the proposal.
Votes will be cast via email, and only RCN members employed by the NHS in England, whose pay will change as a result of the deal, are eligible to take part. This includes many district and community nurses on Agenda for Change contracts.
But practice nurses will not be eligible to vote unless they are on Agenda for Change agreements.
The consultation will run until Tuesday 5 June, after which members will no longer be able to have their say on the new deal.
The RCN has endorsed the deal, encouraging its members to vote in favour of a deal chief executive Janet Davies described as ‘the best rise in a decade’.
She said: ‘The serious amount of new money the Government put on the table is a credit to the nursing staff who turned up the heat on ministers last year. Their strong campaigning meant negotiators could fend off all unpalatable demands to cut holidays or pay for unsocial hours.
‘When there are 40,000 unfilled nurse jobs in England alone, voting yes to the best rise in a decade will go some way to making nursing an attractive career again.
‘The deal is not a silver bullet to cure all ills nor can it rewrite history. But rejecting it would set back the fight for higher wages by eighteen months or longer and leave people worse off.’
The proposal will see nurses on Agenda for Change contracts receive pay rises of between 6.5-22%.
A band 5 nurse who started this year will get a 22%, or £4,842, increase in basic pay over three years. A band 5 nurse with two years’ experience will see a 16%, or £3,819, increase over three years, with a 6.5% (£1,869) increase for those at the top of the pay band.
Holiday entitlements and unsocial hours payments will not be affected by the deal.