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Nurses’ union admits communication was ‘not up to standard’ on controversial pay deal

The Royal College of Nursing has admitted it did not communicate well enough with its members about their recent pay rise.

Dame Donna Kinnair, the acting leader of the UK’s biggest union of nurses, wrote to members yesterday saying ‘lasting changes’ will be made after the blunder.

Members working for the NHS in England were originally told they would all get a three per cent pay rise this summer but only around half of them actually did.

Others only received a 1.5 per cent rise and may have to wait up to 11 months for the other half.

The union’s confession comes just 10 days after its chief executive of three years, Janet Davies, resigned when 1,000 members signed a vote of no confidence calling for her to step down.

Nurses say they were misled about how much money they’d receive, and a review is under way into how the union handled the pay rise.

Dame Donna Kinnair, the acting chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, wrote to the union’s members yesterday saying ‘lasting changes’ will be made in the wake of the pay scandal

Dame Donna, the acting chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, yesterday wrote to members explaining changes were being made in the wake of the fiasco.

She said the union will soon announce ‘substantive and lasting changes to better connect the college with its members,’ the Nursing Times reported.

Communications about the pay deal were ‘below standard’, Dame Donna added, and she said ‘we need to listen better than we have been’.

WHAT IS THE NURSES’ PAY SCANDAL? 

More than one million health workers were told in June they would receive a pay rise worth 6.5 per cent over the next three years.

The Royal College of Nursing claimed the deal would see all nurses receive a three per cent pay rise in July, dating back to April.

The agreement, reached after months of negotiation between unions, employers and ministers, was made possible with an extra £4.2 billion of government funding.

Unions said the decision to accept the deal meant a significant wage boost for the lowest paid workers in the NHS.

But due to the complex system of how pay bands work for nurses in England, scores of workers claimed to receive only very small increases.

In a petition nurses said only those at the top of their pay bands – NHS staff progress through stages of salary categories over time – received the full increase. 

Approximately half of NHS staff are at the top of their pay band, meaning they earn the maximum possible for that role.

Several nurses took to Twitter to complain at how their salary had increased by a few pennies – with one saying it had risen by just 20p.

Most nurses received an increase of 1.5 per cent, Nursing in Practice reported, and were told the remainder would come on their next appraisal. 

An extraordinary general meeting of the RCN has been called to discuss the issue and will take place in Birmingham next month.

Over 1,000 signed petition to oust leaders 

More than 1,000 union members signed a petition to trigger the meeting and call on their leaders to resign.

NHS nurses have been furious after finding out they were misinformed about how much their pay would go up, with one claiming on Twitter their salary had risen by just 20p.

In a petition nurses said only those at the top of their pay bands – NHS staff progress through stages of salary categories over time – received the full three per cent increase. 

Approximately half of NHS staff are at the top of their pay band, meaning they earn the maximum possible for that role. 

An external review is being conducted to uncover how workers were misled.

‘We already know communication was not up to standard’ 

In yesterday’s letter Dame Donna said: ‘Whatever the conclusions of the review, we already know that the RCN’s processes around the pay deal and its communication were not up to the standards that you the membership should expect.

‘Whilst I know there are many things that the college does well, I think there is much that could be improved – in particular around engaging with and listening to our members.

‘Change begins now – I assure you we are listening’  

‘In the next few weeks we will be announcing some substantive and lasting changes to better connect the college with its members.’

‘We are here to serve you – and in order to do that to our best ability, I think we need to listen better than we have been.

‘This change begins now, and I assure you we are listening.’

Chief executive resigned 10 days ago 

Janet Davies, who was leader of the 435,000-strong union of nurses since 2015, resigned on August 20 in the wake of the pay scandal.

Janet Davies, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, resigned on August 20 in the wake of a pay scandal which led to nurses being confused about how much their pay would rise

Janet Davies, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, resigned on August 20 in the wake of a pay scandal which led to nurses being confused about how much their pay would rise

She offered a personal apology at the time and admitted the pay deal from the Government – an investment of £4.2bn – had been more complicated than the RCN had said.

Ms Davies said: ‘It has been a great honour to represent my profession at the highest level.

‘And I am proud of the achievements the college has made over the past three years against a difficult political backdrop.’

The Royal College of Nursing is the largest union of nurses in the world and has had the Queen as a patron since the 1950s.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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