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Moving forward on pay

It is time to give all nursing staff a meaningful pay rise and recognise the true value of their work

The Royal College of Nursing and other health unions representing NHS staff on the Agenda for Change pay system are calling on the government to bring forward discussions on the next NHS pay rise.

With the support of the Trade Union Committee and RCN Council, we have told the government that waiting until mid-2021 is not acceptable.

The last year has shone a light on the essential contribution of all of health and care workers. You have demonstrated immense professionalism and the public has shown great appreciation for your work.

There is a unique moment for the government to show its support for NHS professionals. The applause and tributes have been a short-term morale boost for many RCN members but we must now see action. 

Find out more about the RCN Trade Union Committee.

Fair Pay For Nursing

Find out more about the campaign and how you can get involved.

NHS Pay negotiations terminology

Find out more about the terms and language used for NHS pay negotiations 

Moving forward on pay: Q&A

Find more information about our Q&A webinars taking place with Dame Donna Kinnair, our elected members and RCN staff.

Our action on NHS Agenda for Change 

Our elected Trade Union Committee is overseeing RCN engagement in all processes to decide NHS pay across the UK.

We are using the evidence and views from our members, including key findings from our recent member survey, to inform our evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body or any discussions within the UK NHS Staff Council.

The Trade Union Committee is very clear that nursing, due to the high levels of skill and responsibility commensurate to the provision of safe and effective care, is entitled to a substantive pay increase in 2021. We are calling for a meaningful and early pay rise for nursing staff and are doing the necessary preparations to respond to whichever mechanism governments decide will be used.

Any pay offer or award will be taken back to our members and fully consulted on.

Keep updated

Read our briefings for members on the current NHS pay situation.

Get involved

We need fair pay for nursing

Show your support on social media with a social media frame.

Read the latest news

Find the latest RCN news about pay.

Pay Q&A webinars

Watch members of the RCN Trade Union Committee and Executive Team discuss the RCN pay strategy and how we’re campaigning to secure fair pay for nursing.

April 2020

Our Trade Union Committee finalised our RCN UK Members Pay Policy which set out the principles we agreed we would use as we discuss the pay terms and conditions of our members.

May 2020

The RCN asked every member to complete a detailed survey on working conditions in recent months and how they expected to be valued in the future. It included specific questions on pay levels and found that a pay rise would make members feel most valued.

June 2020

Our Trade Union Committee, supported by RCN Council, has begun on-going conversations with elected/appointed member committees, boards and branches to discuss next steps and negotiating aims for NHS pay. If the UK government and devolved administrations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales initiate the NHS Pay Review Body process in the autumn, we will be armed with our members’ views.   

3 July 2020

With the other health unions on UK NHS Staff Side Council, we called for NHS staff to receive an early and meaningful pay rise which recognises and rewards the true value of their work. We have been clear that investment in NHS pay is an absolute priority to recruit and retain sufficient staff needed to start closing the nursing workforce gap. We are waiting for a response from the UK government to that call.

21 July 2020

The UK Treasury announced pay settlements to cover 900,000 members of the public sector for pay this year 2020/21, but not those covered by Agenda for Change. The Scottish Government also made a separate announcement about a pay increase for doctors and dentists.

NHS Nursing staff are covered by Agenda for Change under which a three year pay deal was agreed in 2018. 

You, our members, were very frustrated by the announcement for other sectors, especially since we had called for the government to commit to early and genuine conversations on pay for Agenda for Change staff. We used the announcement as an opportunity to repeat the call to urgently bring forward the 2021/22 NHS pay round for Agenda for Change staff.

We are calling on the government to move NHS pay forward by:

  1. Committing to immediate discussions on pay;
  2. Recognising the importance of tackling vacancies across the NHS;
  3. Delivering a deal that reaches members’ pockets before 2021, helping to retain staff;
  4. Integrating an NHS pay deal into plans to boost local economies;
  5. Guaranteeing additional funding for employers and to cover meaningful pay increases - with the flow-through to devolved funding arrangements, allowing all parts of the UK to move forward on NHS pay. Additional funding should also be provided to via commissioners to ensure all staff who provide NHS services receive a meaningful pay rise.

Our action on pay in the independent health and social care sector

RCN Council has agreed to the development of a new strategy for the independent health and social care sector, with improving members’ pay and conditions as a key part of the work. While we hold recognition agreements with a number of employers, there are many places where these agreements are not in place. Recognition agreements provide some influence over pay, terms and conditions but the RCN is beginning to look differently at how we influence and lobby.

As a modern professional union, our vision is that all nursing staff, irrespective of where they work, be awarded the optimum pay, terms and conditions of employment.