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"A damning indictment of nursing"

Thursday 13 February 2020

"A damning indictment of nursing"


Just 10 applications were received for 30 vacant positions in the latest round of recruitment for nurses in Guernsey, the RCN's Convenor in the island has said.

Kenny Lloyd told Guernsey's media that this demonstrated the problems they are facing right now, and again emphasised that their ongoing dispute with the States was not just about an annual pay rise, but about pay parity, and good pay conditions.

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Pictured: Talks are set to resume between nurses and the States, it was announced earlier this week. 

The Royal College of Nursing - one of four nursing unions involved in the pay dispute - has said it wants working in the island's healthcare system to be an attractive offer for nurses, so they would be more likely to work here. This would mean the current nurses have "wider shoulders" to bear the weight of their work. 

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Pictured: Nurses in Jersey can expect a baseline salary of £41,000, while those in Guernsey are looking at just £26,000. 

Of the 10 applicants to the most recent positions, Mr Lloyd said four of them were not even from Guernsey, demonstrating how little interest there was at the moment to work as a nurse. 

"It is a damning inditement of how nursing is viewed on the island," he said, "pay is not everything, but it is a part of the jigsaw.

"We had a former colleague who has been involved with this campaign, who has now moved to Jersey with his family because of the better pay conditions there." 

nurse rcn ballot

Pictured: While the RCN is balloting its members to strike now, it said some parts of the union had been asking to strike for years now. The pay dispute itself dates all the way back to the start of last decade, but really kicked off in 2017. 

The RCN did clarify it had never asked for pay parity with Jersey, where nurses can expect to be paid around £15,000 more a year at a starting level, but just wanted better pay conditions compared to what they have now.

This was all revealed at a media briefing the RCN hosted to explain its recently started ballot process, which is polling its Guernsey members on whether they support industrial action.

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Pictured: Toward the end of last year the States claimed to have offered the unions more than they had been asking for: 10.5% rather than 10%. The RCN said this was not what they had asked for because it would have been 10.5% over two years, instead of 10% over one. 

Patricia Marquis, the RCN's Regional Director, explained that the ballot would come back at the same time a new round of talks were concluding - these talks having just been announced as all four nursing unions are set to sit back down with the States and once again try and hash things out. When all of this was wrapped up, Ms Marquis said, the RCN would look at what had been happening, and make an informed decision on whether striking would be the right thing to do at that time.

Essentially, if the RCN's members do support striking, the timing of that action is in the unions hands. 

But it was not going to be an easy decision, Ms Marquis explained: "The emotion that a number of nurses are feeling right now is huge. This is a real trauma for them - to decide to strike and know that they could be walking out on a patient on a particular day.

"They are nurses, very caring people. Compassion is written all over their decision." 

Ms Marquis and Mr Lloyd also criticised Guernsey's Industrial Disputes law, which will eventually force all parties involved in this disagreement to sit before an independent tribunal, give evidence, and then be told a binding solution. 

They said that this was a simple solution to a complex problem, and, if they had a choice, would not be a road they would go down. The RCN just wanted to sit down and talk, something it said it did not feel had happened so far. 

Pictured top: Kenny Lloyd and Patricia Marquis. 

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