RCN settles for 3% with `no strings'

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The Royal College of Nursing yesterday said it would begin signing pay deals after more than 300 NHS trusts offered 3 per cent increases "without strings", writes Barrie Clement.

The College intends to continue talks with more than 100 other trusts which are prepared to negotiate but is also drawing up a "hit list" of some 50 trusts where management was considered to be "hard line".

The announcement comes after the completion of a deal with other health unions which combines local wage negotiations in a national framework.

The RCN said it had achieved a de facto national deal. Christine Hancock, general secretary of the College, said the 300 unconditional offers were a "major success". It had been tough RCN campaigning which won a national "going rate" for pay in 1995.

But Bob Abberley, of the Unison public service union, said the RCN had accepted the deal without any national safeguards.