Annual Delegates Conference 2024: ‘Oppose separate pay spine for nurses’ say delegates 

A motion tabled at ADC called for the SoR to continue to oppose proposals for separate pay for nurses 

Published: 17 April 2024 Trade Union & IR

The Society of Radiographers has been urged to continue to oppose plans to introduce a separate pay spine for nurses. 

A motion tabled at the SoR Annual Delegates Conference (ADC) on Wednesday 17 April called on the Society’s UK Council to continue to oppose these plans. 

The motion was supported by delegates following the vote. 

In January this year, the Department for Health and Social Care opened a public consultation on the proposal to offer nurses a separate pay system from other NHS health workers. 

But the idea has been met with opposition from a number of professional bodies, including the SoR, over concerns the new pay spine would divide professions and would not fix pay issues within the NHS. 

Diminishing the power of groups 

The motion, which was discussed on the morning of the final day of ADC, was tabled by delegates from the North West region and argued that the separation of NHS staff into differing pay spines diminishes the power of group negotiations and would weaken the NHS staff council.

The delegate for the North West Region said: “This motion is asking for council to oppose the introduction of a separate pay spine for nurses to ensure we don’t have any differences in our pay and terms and conditions. 

“Potentially it’s deeply divisive, pitting unions against unions and professions against professions. 

“We do not believe unions working unilaterally in isolation is the correct approach. A collective union approach enhances the strength of negotiations.” 

The SoR has already formally submitted its opposition to the Department for Health’s consultation.  

The proposals for a new pay spine for nurses have been raised by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), over concerns that Agenda for Change (AfC) pay structure has failed to keep pace with changes in the nursing profession. 

In May 2023, during negotiations over changes to the AfC pay system, the RCN suggested introducing a new pay spine for nurses, separate from the pay arrangements in place for the rest of the AfC workforce. 

Why a separate pay spine? 

According to the RCN, a separate pay spine would help with nurse recruitment and retention, as well as offering more opportunities for career progression and professional development. 

But the SoR, and other professional bodies including the Royal College of Midwives, say the proposed system would deepen the NHS workforce crisis.

The government’s call for evidence closed on 4 April and the Department for Health said it will now “review all of the evidence that is submitted and will use this to consider its position in relation to supporting nursing recruitment, retention and professional development in the NHS.”  

Taking place at the Queens Hotel in Leeds from 15-17 April, the SoR’s Annual Delegates Conference (ADC) gives members the opportunity to steer the direction of the Society in the coming years.