Following Northern Ireland Executive?s decision to implement the independent Pay Review Body?s recommendation of a 2.5% pay award for nurses in full, backdated to 1 April 2007, Dr Peter Carter, General Secretary of the RCN, said:
?We are delighted that nurses in Northern Ireland, like their colleagues in Wales and Scotland, will now receive their pay award in full. But, nurses in England will still be left out in the cold because they continue to be offered a lower pay deal than their Celtic cousins.
?A nurse giving care and saving lives in London should be as valued as a nurse in Cardiff, Belfast or Edinburgh. But, when it comes to nurses? pay, we have a Disunited Kingdom in which nurses working in England find themselves discriminated against. This situation is unjust and it?s undeserved.
?When the Government refused to abide by the recommendations of the Independent Pay Review Body they argued that a UK wide pay deal of 2.5% would be inflationary. And they continued to make this argument even though research by the London School of Economics proved the impact on inflation would be a miniscule four thousandths of one percent. Now, with three out of four UK nations agreeing to pay the recommended award, the economic case can be seen for what it always was ? illogical, spurious and nonsensical.
?Since April, more than 200 MPs from across the political spectrum have given their support to the RCN?s pay campaign and it is clear from their responses that they believe it is just plain wrong to stage this year?s pay award.
?Nurses in England have earned the right to a fair pay deal every bit as much as their colleagues in the rest of the UK. So it?s time for those at Westminster to reconsider their decision as a matter of urgency.?
Next week (Monday 16th July), in an historic move, the RCN will ask its members working in the NHS in England whether they want to go ahead with a formal ballot on industrial action over this year?s staged pay award ? bearing in mind that RCN rules clearly state that ?members will not act in any way that is detrimental to the well being or interests of their patients or clients.?
Members who vote in favour of a formal ballot will then be asked to indicate which types of industrial action they would be willing to support, including refusing to work unpaid overtime, a refusal to attend non patient related meetings and a refusal to complete data returns linked to health department targets. The ballot closes at noon on the 6th August.