Nurses tell the government to ‘step up’

By Gemma Nettle   |   Reporter   |
Friday 5th August 2022 7:03 am
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The Royal College of Nursing says the government needs to ‘step up’ and show them how much it values its members.

Most nurses in the Isle of Man say they would be willing to take industrial action over their pay, according to the union, in a formal ballot conducted with RCN members working for Manx Care.

Just under 76% of the RCN’s membership employed by Manx Care took part in the ballot between July 7 and 26, which asked members about the most recent pay offer and whether they would be willing to take industrial action.

Of those who took part, 83.1% of respondents voted that the 4% pay award for 2021/22 and 4% pay offer for 2022/23, were ‘unacceptable’.

Voting in favour of industrial action, 55.5% of members voted for it in that they would consider it, with 45.5% saying they wouldn’t.

The ballot results will determine the next steps in the RCN’s campaign for fair pay for nursing.

Trade unions in the island have been in negotiations since last May, with Manx Care presenting them with several offers, ranging from the original 1% for 2021/22.

Earlier this year, nursing staff were awarded 4%, however this was rejected in an earlier ballot and still open for negotiation. Staff have also been offered an additional 4% for 22/23 which is part of these continuous negotiations.

The original staff-side proposal was a 15% consolidated pay increase, plus a one-off payment.

Carmel O’Boyle, chair of the RCN’s North West Regional Board, said: ‘The result of this second ballot and the tremendous turnout, demonstrates the anger and upset our membership is still feeling, despite receiving a four percent award earlier this year.

‘Our members want recognition for their skill, expertise and immense contribution they have made and continue to make to the local health population. They are over stretched and over worked, often working on goodwill.

‘It’s just not good enough and we need the government and Manx Care to step up and show how much they value them.’

She added: ‘The Isle of Man has huge potential to make itself attractive for nursing and other healthcare staff to go to work, however, the pay and conditions are a huge barrier to this. An even lower pay offer than the rest of England is just insulting.

‘Something needs to change to ensure a sustainable workforce, there’s too much reliance on agency workers.

‘With inflation and the cost of living putting immense pressure on families, especially on the Isle of Man which is higher than most of England.

‘Industrial action takes many forms and is always a last resort but we need to make sure the nursing voice is heard.

‘The safe and effective care of patients is paramount, and we would hope that the public understand the significance of this pay matter to prevent a local health service crisis.’

The results of the ballot have now been fed back to Manx Care and the health minister. The RCN board will meet to discuss and determine next in the coming weeks.

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