Nursing union to protest 3% pay rise for NHS staff in 'summer of action'

Nurses with placards outside the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in London.
Nurses with placards outside the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in London.

The union has been campaigning for a 12.5% pay rise

Published

A nursing union will hold demonstrations this summer demanding “fair pay”, as a survey suggested half of people think a 3% rise is too little.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is planning what it described as a “summer of action” across the four nations of the UK in the lead-up to its annual national congress in Liverpool in September.

Nurses with placards outside the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Victoria Tower Gardens, London.
Nurses with placards outside the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in Victoria Tower Gardens, London.

The union said a poll it commissioned saw a majority (51%) of the public think the 3% pay award is too little, and 62% think there are too few nurses to provide safe care to patients.

The union has been campaigning for a fully-funded 12.5% pay rise for all nursing staff, saying that with inflation the 3% rise is a real-terms pay cut and leaves experienced nursing staff £200 worse off than they were a decade ago.

Events this summer include a demonstration in Hove, a candlelit vigil in Norfolk, and a virtual rally and campaign van travelling through Wales.

They are aimed at encouraging people to get involved in the “Fair Pay for Nursing” campaign.

Royal College of Nursing has been asking for a 12.5% pay rise.
Royal College of Nursing has been asking for a 12.5% pay rise.

RCN general secretary and chief executive Pat Cullen said the 3% rise “will not be enough to prevent an exodus of exhausted NHS nursing staff”.

She said: “Today we’ve launched a summer of action – a calendar of events across the UK hosted by members to ensure that our colleagues, our patients, the public and politicians know that the campaign won’t stop until nursing is respected and protected.

“We know this award will not be enough to prevent an exodus of exhausted NHS nursing staff and ministers must now be honest about the impact this would have on patient care.

“The Government is failing to give the NHS the money it truly needs. This current game of smoke and mirrors is dangerous for patients and nursing staff who care for them.

“If ministers ignore the voice of nursing, they ignore the voice of patients – and that is something we, as nurses, will never allow.”

Nurses, paramedics, consultants, dentists and salaried GPs come under the new pay deal, which is three times higher than the Government’s initial 1% offer.

The rise – thought to cost £2.2 billion – will come out of the existing health service’s budget.

The RCN said it will launch a consultative ballot on views on the 3% pay award in mid-August.

– A total of 1,691 adults were surveyed online by YouGov for the RCN poll between July 22 and 23.