Statement from Jon Skewes on NHS Pay England

By Jon Skewes on 02 August 2018 NHS England Pay and Agenda For Change RCN - Royal College of Nursing

The RCM has always sought to give members accurate information on this agreement, both when we consulted you, and you accepted as well as subsequently. We are now in the implementation stage and the deal is both complex and affects Midwives and MSWs in different ways depending on where you were on 31 March 2018 in the pay structure.

Please don’t let an apology to members of the RCN by their Chief Executive affect your view of the agreement. That apology to RCN members related to a mistake in RCN, not  RCM communications to members about their pay. They had said in one recent communication to activists that all staff would get the same increase at the same time. This was clearly wrong and misleading They have now corrected their communications and apologised. The difference between the pay award part of the deal for those at the top of the band and the increases for those below the top of the band has been made clear throughout by the RCM.

To repeat the RCM has in its consultation not misinformed members and neither have other unions. One union rejected the deal but it has been approved (13 to 1) by all the other unions following consultation with members and is now incorporated in amended and updated Agenda for Change contracts of employment.

It’s also still the best pay agreement in the public sector. It doesn’t pay you back for 8 years of nil or 1% increases forced on us by government. But it is a turning point that will improve our NHS pay structure and your pay. It is funded across the three years unlike say the recent teachers award. It’s the best possible negotiated settlement with the current government for the NHS in England. We did not give up or trade any major terms and conditions on unsocial hours or annual leave. At all times we have described it to you honestly and as clearly as we were able. The elected RCM Board decided to recommend it to you on that basis. It does not achieve everything that the RCM wished for but is what we could achieve by tough and hard negotiation.

Let me explain where we are on implementation now as clearly and simply as I can:

  • For those at the top of a band you should have received  a 3% increase in July pay. Back pay in full from 1 April, including unsocial hours should be in August pay.
  • For those below the top and above the bottom point of a band (with the latter taken out to help get rid of overlaps) you should have received around 1.5% in July. Then in August comes back   pay on that amount from 1 April. The rest of your increase will come on your next incremental anniversary date. So it’s phased in but if you are in this group of members, generally your increased pay will, as a percentage exceed that of those at the top of a band.
  • 86% of those below the top point of a band, currently in employment will reach the top of band by the end of the three year agreement. Please though look at the Pay Calculator for your personal pay in future. Remember that the information you input should be your pay band/point as of 31st March 2018 as the dates of the agreement are 1st April 2018-31st March 2021. There is a link below. Remember the agreement incorporates both pay uplifts and reform of the pay structure. 

As your negotiator I hope this explanation helps you understand what to expect. I hope you will accept that your union, the RCM has always been straight with you. We continue to be so.

If I have oversimplified the agreement here, as it affects you I apologise for that. I cannot apologise though for negotiating the best deal available for members or achieving funding of £4.2 billion to pay for it. There is more work to do on developing the agreement on apprenticeships, pay progression, bank and agency staff etc.. The RCM and other unions will also be meeting employers and payroll providers to work through some individual issues and how changes have been explained to staff. We have also given advice to members and will continue to do so.

Useful links:

Pay Calculator:

Further resources NHS Employers website:

Frequently Asked Questions: