“The honest and open debate in Birmingham has cleared the air and the college will emerge stronger as a result,” the RCN chair, Maria Trewern, said. “This vote is clear and the council and management of the RCN have received the message.
“Council has already driven change within the organisation in recent weeks – to listen more closely to members and involve them thoroughly – and this will continue.”
A meeting will take place next week and it is expected that members of the RCN council will step down.
“Nursing is based on trust,” an NHS nurse told the Guardian. “The actions of the RCN council have destroyed the trust that we had in them and they must go.
“I hope they will do the honourable thing and comply with request. I await with interest to see if the members of other unions seek the same redress.”
Rachel Harrison, the GMB national officer for the NHS, told the Guardian in August: “Up and down the country, NHS staff have opened their pay cheques and realised it’s not the pay rise they thought they were going to get. And they are angry.”
Prior to the extraordinary meeting, the RCN conceded that it made a number of mistakes in its processes around the 2018 pay deal and its communication.
However, it stated that the RCN’s “Scrap the Cap” campaign forced the government to end the pay cap with a phased pay rise worth 6.5% now set to be introduced over three years.
The vote came after an independent report found that the RCN’s presentation of the deal was biased towards its acceptance, while Davies was accused of “closing down” scrutiny of the deal.
It is claimed that the RCN presented “factually incorrect” information, meaning that members were not able to make an informed judgment on the deal, while alternative options were not explored.
The RCN published contradictory information on whether the 3% rise would apply for all members. In a separate briefing before the RCN’s congress, representatives were incorrectly told there would be a “3% increase, plus an increase from incremental reform”. In fact, the 3% increase included the incremental rises and, in any case, only certain workers at the top of their pay band would receive that rise immediately.
“The majority of information conveyed to members about the implementation of the deal after congress was inaccurate (probably a result of an attempt to simplify the message),” a spokesperson from the Electoral Reform Services, who conducted the report, said.
“ERS believes that failure to inform decision makers of information that compared the current system with the proposed deal in a clear succinct manner, hindered informed balanced judgment as it failed to provide clear context to the headline gains, including the 6.5% and 29% figures used in during the campaign.”
The motion of no confidence passed with 78% in favour on a turnout of 3.74% of RCN members.