Nursing union ‘disregarding 20% uplift in last four years’

GUERNSEY’S nursing union is disregarding a 20% uplift in pay over the last four years in rejecting the latest States offer, the deputy leading Guernsey’s pay negotiations has said.

Deputy David Mahoney. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 31289818)
Deputy David Mahoney. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 31289818)

Royal College Of Nursing members last week voted strongly to reject the three-year pay deal offered to them by the States.

The deal would have seen a 5% uplift, plus a payment of £500 to all nurses this year, as well as RPIX increases in coming years.

The union has said it would be prepared to take industrial action.

‘We are of course disappointed in the result of the ballot,’ said Deputy David Mahoney, who is the Policy & Resources lead on pay negotiations.

‘We do have some significant concerns about the ballot, how it was carried out and the integrity of the result, and we are in the process of writing to the RCN to ask for clarity on a number of points.’

Deputy Mahoney said the offer was reasonable and followed several years of above-inflation pay increases for nursing staff.

‘This group has seen an uplift totalling approximately 20% since 2018, compared with 6.4% for established staff,’ he said.

‘These increases have been agreed in recognition of the incredibly valuable work these staff do, their skills and qualifications, and to bring them more in line with colleagues in other areas. But it needs to also be remembered that other colleagues have seen far smaller increases or pay freezes over the same period.’

Deputy Mahoney said the union was calling for pay parity, while disregarding these increases.

‘[The union is] failing to recognise that it is not as straightforward as simply paying one group of employees above-inflation increases year after year, above those of other staff,’ he said.

‘It must take into account a wide range of factors, including the overall remuneration package, shift patterns, overtime, holidays and more. Comparing the skills of various workers, and the ability to recruit and retain in different areas is also not a simple like-for-like.

‘We are happy to discuss these issues constructively with the union, and we believe the pay awards made in the past few years demonstrates the States willingness to recognise its employees and find solutions.’

But Deputy Mahoney said the union had made little effort to work with the States and instead took a confrontational approach.

‘It has sought to misinform its members and misrepresent the significant increases awarded in recent years,’ Deputy Mahoney said.

‘We know there are nurses who share our view, as they have contacted us directly to let us know, and we’re grateful to them for that.’

RCN members ‘provided with fair and accurate information’

THE local nursing union has said it is providing members with fair and accurate information, after being accused of misrepresenting facts.

Royal College Of Nursing south-east regional director Ellen McNicholas said the union did not recognise some of the comments said by Deputy David Mahoney, and was seeking to clarify them.

She added that their ballot was fair.

‘The ballot was undertaken by an independent provider, Civica Election Services, to ensure a robust and fair process,’ she said.

‘We have never denied nor misrepresented the pay awards given in previous years. We are well aware that there is no simple answer to pay parity, which is why the RCN is so eager to talk to the States to explore the many options – but these requests have been ignored.’

Ms McNicholas said in the offer letter from the States in June, Deputy Mahoney said: ‘While the committee is very willing to consider a range of initiatives aimed at improving recruitment and retention, it is not prepared to make any commitment to achieving pay parity at this time.’

But yesterday Deputy Mahoney issued a statement saying the States had been increasing nurses' pay awards in recent years to bring them into line with other States workers.

‘From this statement it looks as though Deputy Mahoney has had a change of heart and is willing to meet with us, which is excellent news and we look forward to arranging a time to do this,’ said Ms McNicholas.

‘The information shared through official RCN channels was accurate and fair, we held numerous information sessions over the ballot period to share information with members.’

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