The Royal College of Nursing has announced further strike action in England as its members have voted to reject the pay offer from the government.
Members belonging to the union marginally rejected the deal, which would provide Agenda for Change staff with an additional lump sum for 2022-23, and 5% pay rise for 2023-24.
Announcing the results of its ballot, which closed at 9am today, the RCN said 61% of its eligible members turned out for the vote, with 54% voting to reject the deal and 46% voting to accept it.
Separately, Unison announced this afternoon that its members in England had voted to accept the offer.
The RCN has announced that it will now hold a 48-hour strike without derogations from 8pm on 30 April to 8pm on 2 May.
For the first time, nursing staff working in emergency departments, intensive care units, cancer care and other services that were previously exempt will now be able to strike.
This upcoming strike action is within the union’s current mandate to strike, which expires in early May.
However the college has said it will also conduct a new England-wide statutory ballot to extend the scope and duration of the current mandate for industrial action.
The RCN’s secretary and chief executive, Pat Cullen, has written to the health and social care secretary Steve Barclay to inform him of the fresh strike action and to seek urgent reopening of pay talks.
In the letter, Ms Cullen said: “What has been offered to date is simply not enough.
“After a historic vote to strike, our members expect a historic pay award”
“The government needs to increase what has already been offered and we will be highly critical of any move to reduce it.”
Ms Cullen noted that since the pay talks with the government began in February, the RCN had “seen the pressures on the NHS continue to increase”.
However, she added: “Until there is a significantly improved offer, we are forced back to the picket line.
“Meetings alone are not sufficient to prevent strike action and I will require an improved offer as soon as possible.”
She called on Mr Barclay to open negotiations with her directly, like he did in February before other unions were invited to talks.
“After a historic vote to strike, our members expect a historic pay award,” Ms Cullen warned.
The offer, which was put forward on 16 March, would provide Agenda for Change staff working in the NHS in England with a non-consolidated lump sum payment for 2022-23 and a deal for 2023-24.
For 2022-23 the money is made up of two components: a payment that amounts to 2% of individuals’ salaries, and a Covid-19 bonus that is worth an average of 4%.
This lump sum is in addition to the average 4.75% consolidated uplift that was implemented last year.
Meanwhile, the government has also offered a consolidated increase for 2023-24 of 5% for all Agenda for Change staff except the lowest-paid who would get 10.4%.
There are also several other non-pay commitments included in the offer, including work to reduce violence against staff, to improve support for new registrants, and a review of safe-staffing arrangements.
Both the RCN and Unison had recommended that their members accept the pay offer.
A government spokesperson said: “It is hugely disappointing that the Royal College of Nursing membership has rejected the pay deal recommended by their leadership.
“Following constructive discussions, all parties agreed this was a fair and generous offer which is demonstrated by Unison, representing the largest share of the NHS workforce, choosing to accept it.
“The fact that the Royal College of Nursing has announced an escalation in strike action with no derogations, based on a vote from the minority of the nursing workforce, will be hugely concerning for patients.
“Hundreds of thousands of Agenda for Change staff continue to vote in ballots for other unions over the next two weeks and we hope this generous offer secures their support.”
Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said it was “disappointing” that RCN members had voted against the pay offer.
Mr Taylor said the confederation would “await the views” of other unions in the coming days and weeks but the “prospect of months of further strike action will be a cause of great concern”.
“NHS leaders understand the pressures facing staff and the context that’s led to industrial action. We know these decisions are never taken lightly and are bound up in multiple factors beyond pay alone.
“But this latest development following the RCN vote will lead to more uncertainty. We will now have to await the views of other unions before we can know where this will go next,” he said.
Here is a complete list of health service employers in England where industrial action by the RCN is due to take place between 30 April and 2 May:
- Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust
- Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
- East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust
- Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- NHS Derby and Derbyshire ICB
- NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire ICB
- Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
- Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
- Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
- Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
- Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust
- East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust
- Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust
- NHS Hertfordshire and West Essex ICB
- NHS Mid and South Essex ICB
- NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB
- NHS Suffolk and North East Essex ICB
- Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
- Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust
- Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
- Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust
- Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust
- Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust
- Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
- Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- NHS North Central London ICB
- NHS South West London ICB
- Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
- St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust
- University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
- Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
- Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
- Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust
- Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust
- Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- NHS Cheshire and Merseyside ICB
- NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB
- North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust
- St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
- Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust
- The Christie NHS Foundation Trust
- The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust
- The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust
- Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust
- Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Wrightington Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust
- Country Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust
- Gateshead NHS Foundation Trust
- North of England Commissioning Support (NECS)
- North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust
- Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
- South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust
- East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust
- Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust
- NHS Kent and Medway ICB
- NHS Surrey Heartlands ICB
- Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- South East Coast Ambulance Service
- Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust
- Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
- University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust
- Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
- Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust
- Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust
- Solent NHS Trust
- South Central Ambulance Services NHS Foundation Trust
- Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
- University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
- Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust
- Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
- Devon Partnership NHS Trust
- Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust
- Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust
- Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- NHS Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire ICB
- NHS Devon ICB (One Devon)
- NHS Dorset ICB (One Dorset)
- NHS Gloucestershire ICB (One Gloucestershire)
- North Bristol NHS Trust
- Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
- Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
- Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust
- Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust
- Somerset NHS Foundation Trust
- South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
- Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust
- University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust
- University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust
- University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust
- Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
- Dudley Integrated Health and Care NHS Trust
- Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust
- Midlands and Lancashire CSU
- Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
- NHS Birmingham and Solihull ICB (BSol ICB)
- NHS Black Country ICB
- Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust
- The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
- Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
Yorkshire and the Humber
- Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
- Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust
- Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust
- NHS North West Yorkshire ICB
- Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
- Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust
- Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
- York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Health Education England
- NHS Blood and Transplant
- NHS England
- NHS Resolution