Nurses' pay explained as strike set to go ahead after talks fail – Nottinghamshire Live

Nurses are set to strike on December 15 and again on December 20 in a pay dispute
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Nurses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are set to go on strike after a meeting with health secretary Steve Barclay failed to produce any agreement. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN), the nurses’ trade union, has accused the government of “belligerence”.
The government has refused to negotiate on pay, though it says it is open to further discussion on other issues. RCN leader Pat Cullen said she was “extremely disappointed” at the stance the government had adopted and said wages were “fundamental” to the dispute.
Last month, RCN members voted to take strike action in the union’s biggest ever ballot. The union had indicated that it would be willing to reconsider its plans to strike if the government made another offer on pay, but the latter has not done so.
READ MORE: How Nottingham's hospitals hope to get through challenging winter
Nurses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are poised to take two days of strike action this month, on December 15 and 20 respectively. The first of these strikes is set to go ahead on Thursday, after talks between the government and the nurses’ trade union ended in failure.
Every health trust in Northern Ireland and all except one in Wales voted to strike. In England, almost half of NHS trusts failed to meet the legally-required minimum turnout threshold (50%, with at least 40% of all those entitled to vote voting in favour) to take strike action.
Staff at four Nottinghamshire NHS organisations voted to strike last month. These are Nottingham University Hospitals, NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire ICB, and the East Midlands Ambulance Service.
Unite and Unison members in Scotland voted to call off their strike after the Scottish government upped its pay offer to 7.5%. RCN Scotland is currently balloting its members on whether to accept the proposal.
Nurses are set to go on strike in a dispute over pay. The RCN points out that its members have seen their pay fall by 20% in real terms since 2010; the union says this has contributed to the loss of 25,000 nurses from the profession over the last year alone.
The union insists that its industrial action will not put patient safety at risk. It says that exemptions will be in place so that nurses can continue to provide emergency care, urgent diagnostic procedures and essential therapeutic services.
NHS nurses are paid according to a banding system, depending on their seniority in the profession. Each nurse is paid a salary according to their experience and responsibilities within their band; nurses can also progress to more senior bands.
Newly-qualified nurses start in Band 5 on the NHS pay scale, with a starting salary of £27,055 a year in England (increased somewhat in London). Band 6 nurses earn £33,706 to £40,588, while Band 7 nurses earn between £41,659 and £47,672 a year.
The RCN is calling on the government to give nurses a pay increase of 19.2%. This is 5% above the rate of retail price inflation, which stood at 14.2% in the 12 months to November.
This increase would compensate for the 20% loss of real-terms income which the RCN says nurses have endured over the last 12 years. However, the government has said that it will not negotiate with the union on nurses' pay.
The government says that the money needed to fund a 19.2% pay rise for nurses would have to come out of the budget for frontline NHS care. It says that this would make it harder for the beleaguered health service to clear its Covid-related backlog.
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