I’m sure my nursing colleagues will be fully up to speed with this and I expect many people in the general public, though not fully invested, will have heard of the NHS pay deal that has been voted on this week.
This deal is a kick in the teeth. We all know this. The government have lied to us about what this deal means and most importantly, have misrepresented it to the public. They’ve made it very difficult for us to say we are hard up, that we are unfairly compensated, that our wages are poor, when they are selling this offer as us getting an increase of up to 29% of our current wages and that we will be all be making an average of £30000.
This deal is an insult. It’s been sold to us, and to the public, based on dishonesty. I’m angry. I’m angry that the government and the RCN have tried to peddle this as something we should be grateful for. We deserve more than we are getting and than we are being offered.
With that said, I voted in favour of the pay deal. I understand that this will disappoint a lot of my nursing colleagues, and it upsets me that those who voted no are implying that those of us who didn’t are easily led, naive and have been manipulated.
I’m not stupid. I know exactly what I voted for. It’s all well and good for us to declare that we deserve more, but I genuinely believe the only way we will get anything better is if we all agree to strike. And we won’t. It’s a sorry state to be in, but I’d rather have this than nothing, and I think nothing is what we will get if we reject it unless we are prepared to take industrial action. That’s not because the unions have tricked me into believing that. It’s because the government know we don’t stick up for ourselves as a profession.
I for one am pleased that I will see some sort of increase in my pay. We are never going to be compensated fairly for our work and that’s the truth of it, unless we stick up for ourselves in the form of a strike. Historically we know this is something that nurses won’t do. I voted in favour of industrial action last year, and I was in the minority. The strike didn’t go ahead through lack of support from nurses. Our unions are spineless. We as a profession have shown consistently that we don’t value ourselves and that our unions and professional body don’t value us either. I don’t want to risk rejecting this deal and ending up with nothing, yet again.
It’s not what we deserve, but it’s something, and something is better than nothing.