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RCGP staff preparing to strike over pay

RCGP staff preparing to strike over pay

Staff at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) is preparing to take strike action over a below-inflation pay rise offer.

Unite has announced it is balloting more than 100 of its members responsible for the day-to-day running of the RCGP for industrial action over pay.  

The union said that the workers, who provide services to GPs who are members of the RCGP in areas such as education, policy, research, exams, events planning and committee facilitation, have rejected a 7% pay offer, increased by an additional £400 one off payment, after several rounds of negotiations.

Unite described the pay offer as ‘a real-terms pay cut’, when the real rate of inflation, RPI, currently stands at 10.7%.

It said that this was ‘despite the RCGP finishing the financial year £1.4m ahead of budget’ and that the workers ‘are angry at not being compensated for covering staffing shortages and implementing efficiency savings’.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: ‘These workers have bent over backwards to cover staffing shortfalls and deliver excellent financial results for the Royal College of General Practitioners.

‘The college’s motto translates to “compassion with knowledge”. Well, it should know enough to realise these workers are struggling with rising bills and treat them properly. Unite’s members at the college will receive their union’s unwavering support.’

Unite regional officer Matt Freeman said: ‘The RCGP has enough reserves to give these workers a proper pay rise that reflects their hard work and the cost of living crisis. It needs to come back with an offer our members can accept.’

The ballot will close on 29 August.

RCGP’s interim chief operating officer Mark Thomas said: ‘We are disheartened and disappointed by Unite’s decision to ballot members on strike action.

‘We have been negotiating with the union for many months on the pay award for 2023/24, including seeking support from the Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS).  

‘Unfortunately, we have been unable to reach agreement and there remains a material difference between the pay offer we have made and the claim from the union.

‘The pay offer we have made is a consolidated award of 7% for all staff plus a one-off, non-consolidated bonus, making the total pay offer equivalent to 7.5% – 8.8% (average of 8.1%). The union’s claim is equivalent to 10.6% – 14.6% (average of 12.4%).

‘This is higher than inflation and higher than all sector market pay awards. As a charity and professional membership body, we do not believe this claim to be reasonable or justifiable.

‘The college highly values all our staff and the hard work they do to provide services and support to our GP members and to raise standards of care for patients. We are operating in a very challenging economic environment and recognise the pressures that extremely high inflation and the rising cost of living are placing on our colleagues.

‘We want to do all we can to reduce and relieve these pressures. However, we also need to be prudent in managing our finances in order to meet our regulatory obligations and deliver on the expectations of our membership.

‘We have written to all our staff, not just union members, as it is important for them all to understand the status of the negotiations and the rationale for the college’s position.

‘We encourage all our staff who are union members to participate in the ballot so that the result reflects the views of our staff as broadly as possible. In deciding how to vote, we hope they will consider the reasons as to why we do not believe a strike is justified given the pay offer which has been made.’

Last month, the BMA confirmed that LMCs can lawfully participate in preparations for potential industrial action for GPs, including canvas opinion and express support.

The doctor’s union has issued advice for LMCs on how to participate in potential industrial action, after taking legal advice earlier this year.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

David Church 4 August, 2023 1:57 pm

I am not currently a Member of the College, but still I am ashamed that they would offer so far below inflation given the savings staff have managed to win for them.
This damages seriosuly the GPs’ and other Doctors’ pay award and funding award requests.
Yes, we should try to control future inflation, by bringing down the waste on excessive CEOs’ salaries and corrupt government contracting and cronyism, but it is too late for anything to have an affect on the HISTORIC inflation rate of the last 2 years, which was well above 10% on essentials that lower-paid staff require to cover, such as food and transport, energy and water.
Renationalisation would help, but all organisations, even charities, need to recognise that they need to assist their staff to catch up with current financial pressures.
RCGP should be showing a good lead in this, not joining the bandwaggon of worker exploitation.

John Glasspool 4 August, 2023 3:11 pm

As DC.

Turn out The Lights 4 August, 2023 3:36 pm

Glad Im not a member as it show their true colours.

Not on your Nelly 4 August, 2023 3:49 pm

Not a member. Canceled my direct debit some 10 years ago. more than 6K saved in the process. The best way to get out of the ranks I found was to just cancel the direct debit. It has made no difference to working in the UK as a GP or getting any other role in teaching, HEE , NHSE, Pharma or industry. It only makes a difference if you wish to move to Australia or another country that recognises it to work as a GP there . Some might choose to vote with their feet. I did.

The Locum 4 August, 2023 5:02 pm

Not a member and didnt need to hold current MRCGP – just proof that had it prevously / proof of CCT in my recent overseas application

John Graham Munro 4 August, 2023 11:05 pm

Just a reminder hat the chef Jamie Oliver is an Hon. F.R.C.G.P.

Some Bloke 5 August, 2023 10:43 am

If 7% rise is outrageously small – what would be acceptable and compare it with how much increase you have offered to your practice personnel? What source of revenue should they exploit in order to pay them more? Exam and membership fees? Imagine the sense of injustice if these were increased.

Hugh Reeve 5 August, 2023 11:25 am

Think GPs commenting here can only complain this offer is too small if they have offered more to their practice staff. Recognise that GP income certainly hasn’t gone up in line with inflation, but also don’t recall college membership fees going up at over 10% for the current year. The College appears to be financially well run at the moment and so are many practices.

Bridget Osborne 5 August, 2023 3:59 pm

John Graham Munro – Jamie Oliver has done much to improve childrens’ diet in the UK by campaigning for healthier school meals and teaching parents to cook. His FRCGP was well deserved in this respect

John Graham Munro 6 August, 2023 5:48 am

Bridget Osbourne
Maybe——–but many of us now have a clearer idea as to how the College functions

Some Bloke 6 August, 2023 12:32 pm

John, who would you rather see consulting ministers on primary care- Jamie Oliver, Henry Dimbleby or Ara Darzi?

Anonymous 6 August, 2023 5:46 pm

Begs the question why we need 100 people to collect fees and set up exams?

Some Bloke 6 August, 2023 6:25 pm

Agree, Anonymous, people bring problems, like Comrade Stalin used to say. Much better if process was automated, maybe managed by AI. No ungrateful employees, great performance. I am not sarcastic, this is the future. Of cause even the genius that Stalin was,- you may hate him as human being, as I do, but got to admire his ability to manage things that would be unmanageable in any other system,- the point is: our jobs are not for life. AI in capitalist society will see to it. So salaried Docs, locums- get ready for activities where human work is still cheaper than machine. Deliveries, construction, rubbish collection – up to a point. There’s going to be need in premises where testing is done and dressings, treatments are given in the foreseeable future, so as a partner I will be ok. And you can’t emigrate your way out of this, it’ll catch up with you, in Canada or Oz or anywhere else.

Truth Finder 9 August, 2023 2:34 pm

The Barristers got 15% within days of the threat of a strike. It just shows.

Stephen Savory 10 August, 2023 2:11 pm

RCGP failed to address ideas, concerns and expectations?