Nurses on the Isle of Man have been offered an enhanced pay deal, as industrial action on the independently governed British territory remains paused for now.
Manx Care, the island government’s arms-length health and social care service provider, informed the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) this week of a new heightened pay offer.
The new offer comprises a consolidated (permanent) increase of £1,500 for all banded healthcare staff, on top of a 6% rise already implemented.
“There is no doubt that our strike action prompted Manx Care to open up talks”
The RCN paused planned strikes for the end of October when, at the start of that month, it received a pay offer from Manx Care of 2.75% consolidated, on top of the 6%.
That October offer, Nursing Times calculated at the time, was worse for anyone on band 6, grade 2, and below, than a £1,000 consolidated offer the union had previously rejected and dubbed an “insult”.
Manx Care’s new offer represents a 4.76% rise for a band 5, grade 1, nurse, who would – before the rise was instated – be paid £31,540 per year.
For anyone paid less than a band 7, grade 7, Manx Care healthcare worker (£52,577 before the rise), the new offer is worth more than the 2.75% increase offered in October.
RCN members on the Isle of Man will get the chance to have their say on the deal in a consultative survey from midday on Monday, 13 November.
The survey will then run until 27 November, and shortly afterwards, the college will decide if it will accept the offer.
The new offer comes after nurses went on strike in July and September over. They said at the time that years of under-investment in healthcare and uncompetitive salaries for nursing staff were leading to more and more quitting for work elsewhere.
Deborah Wolfendale, a registered nurse and vice secretary of the RCN’s branch on the island, said the union was not encouraging members to vote in a particular direction.
She said, however, that if the ballot results in the deal being accepted, it would be a “welcome end” to the dispute.
“Open dialogue regarding the current day pay dispute has resulted in the new increased offer of £1,500, backdated to April 2022,” said Ms Wolfendale.
“Any increase of the pay offer which can result in resolution of this protracted dispute is of course a step in the right direction,” she said.
She added: “The branch has discussed this new offer and although it is appreciated and has the opportunity to resolve this matter, it is of course down to the membership votes.
“The branch will encourage all our members to vote on the island but it must be an individuals’ personal choice, which will be supported by the branch.”
Ms Wolfendale, speaking during the July strikes, said low nurse salaries on the Isle of Man were forcing experienced staff out, and making it hard to replace them when they left.
More about the Isle of Man nurse pay dispute
Estephanie Dunn, regional director for RCN North West, said she was “pleased” that Manx Care had agreed to further negotiations, and that the organisation was able to make a new offer.
She said: “There is no doubt that our strike action prompted Manx Care to open up talks but other unions joining our fight has also piled on the pressure. We stand stronger together.
“However, it will be down to our members to decide if the latest offer is proof enough to believe that the Manx government are investing in not only the current nursing workforce, but the sustainable future of nursing and safe patient care on the Isle of Man.”
A Manx Care spokesperson confirmed that the 2.75% pay rise has been withdrawn in favour of the £1,500 one, after union negotiations, and that these had been made possible by the island’s treasury releasing new funds.
They said: “The revision to the offer followed discussions with staff side representatives, regarding how the pay award could be implemented to best effect within the available financial envelope.
“This revised offer was agreed in advance of the outcome of the RCN ballot and Manx Care is awaiting a response from the joint staff side unions,” they added.