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Unions push for nurses pay to rise by minimum of 1%

Unions want a minimum 1% pay rise for nurses from April next year and will demand a living wage for the lowest paid NHS staff.

Both unions and the NHS Employers organisation last week submitted their evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body, which decides whether to recommend a basic pay rise to ministers. It will make its final recommendations – based on evidence submitted by employers, unions and the government – to the government in time for next April.

Analysis of latest earnings data by Nursing Times shows half of all NHS nurses earned less than £31,500 over the 12 months to June 2013.

Half of all support staff, such as healthcare assistants, earned below £18,000, with the bottom 25% earning less than £14,000.

The worst paid 25% of registered nurses earned less than £26,000, while the top earning 25% received more than £36,500. Overall, nurses earned an average of £30,769 – a rise of 0.9% from 2012 and 6.7% from 2009.

However, these increases have not kept pace with the consumer price index – the inflation measure used by the government – which has risen by almost 13% since 2009. The government has indicated it expects NHS staff to receive a maximum 1% pay rise in April next year.

Unions are arguing that staff have not received a real-terms pay increase since 2006 and that 1% should be the minimum.

They said NHS staff had seen repeated below inflation pay rises that had eroded earnings in real terms by between 8-12% compared with the retail prices index, which unions say is a more realistic measure of the effect of inflation than the CPI.

Christina McAnea, joint chair of the NHS Staff Council, said: “NHS staff have seen the value of their pay fall by at least 10% over the past two years.

“The evidence is clear – supporting and investing in staff makes a real difference to patient outcomes.”

But NHS Employers is calling for a pay freeze, as occurred in 2011 and 2012, due to the “unprecedented” financial challenges faced by the NHS.

It argues that “pay drift”, where staff move through incremental pay points on Agenda for Change, has meant 55% of staff have had a pay rise of between 3.4 and 6.7%.

In its evidence to the review body, NHS Employers also said there will need to be more changes to national pay terms and conditions “to make them more financially sustainable for the future” – suggesting further attacks on Agenda for Change.

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Readers' comments (6)

  • Let us stop increments and thus eliminate pay drift.
    Let's appoint everyone straight to the top of the incremental scale....

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  • If we do not keep pay levels up
    we will end up seeing the Brain Drain of Nurses as we did in the Eighties, we then suffered low Morale and decreasing standards of care.
    Get real Pay nurses a Real living wage for a job that is essential for the health of our country and ultimately our economy!

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  • Here it is! Found it, found it! '0'

    The zero that the unions lost!

    It should read 'Unions push for nurses pay to rise by minimum of 10%'

    You see, when you find that zero and put it where it should be the headline makes some sense.

    With the zero missing it reads 'Unions accept further real terms pay cut for nurses long before negotiations start, bringing cuts in pay to at least 12%'

    Whilst the govt is busy bringing down the NHS, the unions and the NMC are doing the same for nursing. And we get to fund both of them in the process. You couldn't make it up.

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  • Increments is not pay drift, its now the only thing keeping salaries up with inflation, until people hit the top of their band.

    How about giving everyone the same pay rise and have a fixed increase, if you're competently doing your job and to meet cost of living and increase in skills and experience.

    So a rise of eg £1500 for the year. People at the lower end gets a bigger % rise relative to their earnings compared to someone else on a much higher salary.
    Bet MPs would still ask for more, as they're in it like the rest of us.

    Some firefighters and teachers have taken action to strike. Politicians will continue to say not enough members voted, they're irresponsible and putting lives at risk, but happy to give themselves a decent rise.

    What will nurses do?
    Will there be more moaning and no action? Will people leave their jobs and work privately? Will people leave their unions or become more active to get the changes they want?

    Not supporting and paying for staff with the right qualities, skills, experience, dedication will lead to poorer outcomes for patients, especially when people with these skills leave/retire to find work elsewhere.

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  • I came to this country in the Eighties.
    I was exicited to be a nurse here, and unaware of the politics involving nurses. Now I am well aware of what went on and what is now happening and wished I did not stay in nursing. (Now I can say we), when we British don't want to get into nursing or stay in nursing all they do is go overseas and recruit, instead of fix the problems.
    They know that they can find the nurses somewhere.
    Our unions are weak, our nurses are disjointed on what they are willing to do, our Goverment thinks every thingh is business.
    I can only hope that the British people can still stand up for what is right and fair for this land.

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  • the above comment is a tragic illustration of the disillusionment of so many British nurses who are becoming more and more demoralised or have felt pushed to leave the profession. how short sighted of the government and NHS employers and what a terrible waste of those who were so willing to make many sacrifices for others. Their patients need them.

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