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RCN calls time on pay talks as ‘no negotiations to be had’

News | Published:

THE Royal College of Nursing has called time on pay talks, after a meeting with the Guernsey Independent Disputes Officer stalled this week.

The Princess Elizabeth Hospital. (26545782)

The talks ended after 10 minutes. The RCN said this was due to it becoming clear that there was no negotiation to be had.

A Policy & Resources spokesperson said they were disappointed and frustrated with the RCN’s move towards industrial action.

‘The Policy & Resources Committee, and the three other unions involved, are engaging in the process in good faith, with the genuine hope of reaching a fair resolution,’ they said.

‘However, the continued threat of industrial action undermines this process and causes uncertainty for the community.’

RCN members will be balloted on an offer of a 5% increase in all pay and allowances from January, with a further 5% rise in September.

Regional Director Lindsay Meeks said describing situation as frustrating did not even cover it.

‘Our members deserve so much more than to be brushed off like this,’ she said.

‘This campaign has never been about money. This campaign is about valuing nurses and paying them what they are worth. For years and years nurses have accepted meagre handouts and sticking-plaster bonuses. What the profession is crying out for is proper modernisation and a pay structure that befits the qualifications, work and responsibility nurses have.

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‘We are not demeaning other professions who are paid more, we are simply asking that we are paid equally.’

The P&R spokesperson said they had made three offers to the nurses so far, but the RCN had not shown any flexibility.

Ms Meeks said the nursing profession in Guernsey was at risk.

‘We have already heard from members who are moving their families to Jersey where they fought hard for and receive pay commensurate with their allied health professionals,’ she said.

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‘These talks were the perfect opportunity to address all of these concerns in an honest and constructive way. Frankly this has been squandered, leaving our members more disillusioned than ever.

‘The improved offer from the States is so marginal it won’t make any difference to the majority of our members. Our next steps are to reluctantly ballot on the updated offer from the States.

‘We will have a result before Christmas. If, as we expect, the members reject this offer we will push ahead immediately with the Industrial Action ballot in early January 2020.’

The Policy & Resources Committee is currently undertaking a comprehensive review of terms and conditions for all public sector pay groups, which could end up costing an extra £40m. a year.

Juliet Pouteaux

By Juliet Pouteaux
News reporter

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