Royal College of Nursing urges members to reject 4% pay offer

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nursesImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The RCN said the Covid pandemic has "exacerbated long-standing issues" for nurses

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is recommending that its members reject the Scottish government's 4% pay offer.

The RCN said Scotland's nurses and healthcare support workers deserved a 12.5% rise for to the skill, responsibility and experience they demonstrate every day.

It comes after the GMB union also urged its members to reject the offer.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the 4% increase recognised the "dedication" of NHS staff during the pandemic.

The RCN said nursing salaries had failed to keep pace with living costs and higher pay would ensure safe staffing levels and help fill vacant jobs.

Julie Lamberth, chairwoman of the RCN Scotland board, said: "Our members are exhausted. This past year has exacerbated long-standing issues and taken its toll - we know many are thinking of leaving the profession.

"Governments across the UK need to demonstrate that nursing staff are valued. That's why we are campaigning for 12.5%.

"We believe the nursing profession deserves fair pay that recognises our contribution, and compensates for the failure of salaries to keep up with the cost of living over the last 10 years."

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Nurses and frontline NHS workers protested in Glasgow last August for improved pay.

The Scottish government said that NHS staff on pay bands 1 to 7 would receive at least a 4% pay rise, backdated to 1 December 2020.

In England some NHS staff have been offered a 1% increase.

Ms Freeman said the average pay of a frontline NHS nurse in Scotland would rise by over £1,200 a year.

She said the offer, which does not apply to doctors, was in recognition of an "exceptional year of significant pressure".

It follows a £500 thank you payment for all health and social care workers announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in November.

Earlier this week the GMB Scotland union recommended that its members turn down the offer when a consultative ballot is held next month.

GMB Scotland organiser Karen Leonard said: "The offer doesn't value our members properly, it doesn't restore the pay they've lost after a decade of cuts."

Unison and Unite have put the offer to members without recommendation.