This tells me, central to a settlement, is a refresh of the Agenda for Change pay scales.

Talk first

If you or yours were expecting to get some long awaited treatment underway, you might be disappointed…

…176 places of NHS work, out of the 311 where ballots were held, are walking out.

Look out for a letter, or text, or something.

The RCN know what they’re doing. They’re going on strike 15th and 20th December. Where, they are yet to disclose.

In the middle of one of the worst, pressured times I can remember, in 50yrs of NHS watching.

Two week-days that will ricochet through the months to come.

Trusts have known it’s coming. By-and-large they have good relations with local union representatives. They have the dates and can finesse their plans.

Now what?

Bully-Boy says his ‘door is open’…


No, bad…

…first, it means he will meet people on his territory…

…second, he has the luxury of ‘the door’ and…

…third he can decide when to open and close it.

It’s a phrase right out of the lexicon of the bully-boss. All too common… powerful people take power for granted.

It’s a copout.

Makes BB feel righteous and puts the onus on the RCN. Proper negotiating must be in good faith, on equal terms.

This dispute will not be ended by an offer of more money, alone. It’ll be determined by public opinion.

An unpopular government, versus the very people we all clapped for, a year or so ago.


An unpopular strike and a fine way for the people we clapped for, to replay us.

Take yer-pick.

The tabloids and Sky TV, are already fishing for patients disappointed, distressed or disadvantaged by strikes… to tell their stories.

The arguments need to be fine tuned.

The RCN should be saying; this is about the two R’s. Reinstating the pay nurses have lost and safe Rotas, for patients and their families.

HMG have to press the money argument, on a public already pressed for money; the nurses claim will cost billions we don’t have and we are recruiting more nurses.

The actual cost of the claim? Seventeen or more percent on top of what nurses earn.

What do they earn?

Beware! This is tricky and I suspect, where the rows will begin.

There are several ways to present the figures. You be the judge.

There are eight pay bands, one having four sub-bands, each having a number of progression points.

For example; a Band 5 (entry level nurse), starts at £27,055, after two years they can progress to £29,180 and after a further two years to the top-step, £32,934.

The Agenda for Change pay scales are complex, cover more than nurses and depend on the employer paying the right band for the job… and some of them have craftily, been de-banding.

Taking an average of each of the eight bands, in total and importantly, with average progression, bearing in mind the majority of nurses are between 31-40yrs and will have progressed, it can be argued…

… the average pay of a nurse might be £49, 965.

However, that includes Band 9 nurses who have probably long since swapped regular bed-pan emptying, for pressing delete on a computer.

It also includes Bands 2,3 and 4 who are actually, healthcare support workers.

Their average income is £22,787.

For around a minimum wage, they carry out vital, skilful work including; bathing, observations, wound-care, blood samples and other care, often above their grades. Others are drivers, administrators, domestic and estate workers none of which will be members of the RCN…

… more likely Unison, who are balloting.

If we exclude Bands 9, 2,3 and 4…

… the average pay of a nurse might be £54,564.

But, look at the majority of frontline nurses who work between Bands 5,6 and 7 and…

… the average pay for a nurse might be £37,268.

(Just 5 and 6 and the average is £33,570)

Finally, the top earners; Bands 8a,b,c,d and 9 and …

… the average pay of a nurse might be £74,849.

For context, the ONS tell us the national average salary for someone in full-time work is £38,131…

…now you can see how deceptive averages can be and don’t forget over 10yrs overall, nursing pay has seen inflation erode incomes by 20%.

With a similar health warning; the Graduate Outcomes report by The Higher Education Statistics Agency, says the current average graduate salary in the UK is just over £24,000.

This tells me, central to a settlement, is a refresh of the Agenda for Change pay scales.

Maybe, even a differential settlement that favours Bands 5 and 6?

A deal might look like the RCN to agreeing to;

• have a say in the upcoming workforce plan,
• a downpayment increase for Bands 5-6 now and
• a further payment next year, across the board.
• Outlaw de-banding.
• A forgiveness of student debt, would cost nothing and
• something around meals, childcare, travel and parking costs…

… would make a big difference.

All disputes end in discussions.

‘My door is open…’ says; I’m only prepared to make minimal effort.

‘My door is open…’ sounds like; door’s open, mind’s closed.

‘My door is open…’ speaks volumes about; ‘don’t bother unless you’ve something to tell me I will like.’

Cunningly, whispered, sotto-voche; go and annoy the public…

… then we’ll see who has to talk first.

News and Comment from Roy Lilley
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Reproduced at by kind permission of Roy Lilley.