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States urges nurses to engage with union ballots on pay offer

News | Published:

NURSES have been encouraged by the States to take part in union ballots, as they seek to find a solution over the pay dispute.

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Both sides have said they have been engaging with the pay talks, but this week they stalled.

The latest improved offer was for nurses to get a 5% increase in pay from January and a further 5% from September. Then a further pay review would be held in January 2021.

In a letter to staff yesterday, nurses were told that the States was still engaging with the industrial disputes process.

‘We understand that unions are intending to ballot their members,’ the letter said.

‘If you are a member of a relevant union, please do engage with that balloting process. It is hoped staff will view the revised offer as a positive movement towards greater pay equality and whilst it remains the case that more work needs to be done on how to achieve that goal within the States’ limited finances, we hope that this demonstrates our commitment to carry out that work. Whether you decide to accept or reject the revised offer, we continue to value your work and dedication.’

The talks affect more than 600 staff. The lowest pay band, two, has 111. They would see their gross basic pay rise from £19,901 to £21,941 by autumn 2020, if they agreed to current offer. Those on band seven, which affects 80 staff, would see pay rise from £50,172 to £55,315.

An open letter was yesterday also issued by the RCN.

‘As governors of the RCN in the South-East we have been dismayed by recent actions on the island,’ they said.

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‘Negotiation, by its very definition, is a dialogue between parties to reach a beneficial outcome.

‘The talks have been so one-sided and the RCN’s concerns just dismissed so readily that we really don’t consider negotiation has happened. This new offer kicks the idea of modernising the workforce way down the line.

‘If the States were serious about future proofing the nursing profession these discussions (implementing the findings of the Royles review) would have already started. They haven’t.’

The nurses are set to ballot on 18 December. The RCN said nurses did not want to cause chaos and the union did want to talk.

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‘It was the States that ended the current talks by refusing the counter offer put forward by all four of the Agenda for Change unions and refusing to budge,’ the open letter said.

‘As the IDO [industrial disputes officer] was clear the talks had finished, the RCN – along with Prospect and the RCM who had also rejected the offer – agreed to ballot and we are in the process of doing this.

‘The RCN negotiators are essentially agents of the nurses – nurses who are all clearly telling us that enough is enough. There is no political agenda.’

Juliet Pouteaux

By Juliet Pouteaux
News reporter

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