The RCN Council has voted unanimously for the Union to immediately set up a £35 million industrial action fund.
The Council convened an emergency meeting last week following the Department of Health and Social Care’s submission of evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) in which it recommended a 1% pay award for NHS staff.
‘The prime minister is sounding increasingly out of touch with the impact of his own proposal. Today’s comments will appear blasé to nursing staff who have been told they’re worth only an extra £3.50 after a decade of wage losses in the middle of a pandemic,’ said RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary, Dame Donna Kinnair.
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‘More nursing staff benefits patients. And the PM will only get - and keep - the extra staff our patients need by also committing to a significant pay rise. Nursing has been undervalued for too long and the public is now has joined us in calling time on this.’
A strike fund is an amount of money that can be used to support workers, who are members of a trade union, to provide some compensation for loss of earnings and campaigning during industrial action.
The PRB will make recommendations to the governments and ministers have indicated that they expect the PRB to report by May 2021. Although the PRB makes recommendations, it is ministers who decide what level of pay rise to award.
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‘Nobody would think that is fair in the middle of a pandemic and it will do nothing to prevent the exodus from nursing,’ added Dame Donna.
‘Nursing staff would feel they are being punished and made to pay for the cost of the pandemic. It is a political decision to underfund and undervalue nursing staff. Nursing deserves a 12.5% increase. Our members will be making sure the Pay Review Body understands their reality and how the award would be received.’