Deputy accuses nursing union of 'misinforming' members over pay offer

The States offered nurses a 5% pay rise in 2022, with RPIX increases in 2023 and 2024. Credit: ITV Channel Television

The politician responsible for States of Guernsey employment issues has hit back against a 'confrontational' approach taken by one of the island's unions - saying the Royal College of Nursing 'sought to misinform its members' over the government's latest pay offer.

It's after RCN members voted to reject the three-year pay deal offered by the States.

The union recommended members rejected the offer, saying it equated to a 'real-term pay cut' for nurses.

Deputy Dave Mahoney, from the Policy and Resources Committee, says he's disappointed with the result of the RCN ballot:

"We believe the pay offer is very reasonable and follows 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. 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 added that the States 'has significant concerns' about how the ballot was carried out and 'the integrity of the result'.

The Policy and Resources Committee says it is writing to the RCN to address its concerns.

Deputy Dave Mahoney is the States of Guernsey's political lead for employment issues Credit: States of Guernsey

The Deputy adds that it isn't possible for all employees to be given a 'like-for-like' pay rise, as the RCN had been wanting:

"The union continues to call for pay parity disregarding these increases and 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. 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 demonstrate the States willingness to recognise its employees and find solutions.

"The union has made little effort to work collegiately with the employer and instead has taken a confrontational approach, has sought to misinform its members and misrepresent the significant increases awarded in recent years."