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Multi-year nurse pay proposal splits unions


A proposed three-year pay deal for nurses has divided health unions, with midwives and health visitors refusing to sign up to the agreement.

The Royal College of Midwives, Unite/CPHVA and the GMB have not recommended the deal to members.

NT understands that the unions are unwilling to sign up to the deal because they claim they were not given sufficient time to consider implications for their members.

The proposals were drawn up by the RCN, Unison and the government in secret meetings over the last few weeks and would apply to all NHS staff on Agenda for Change pay scales

RCM general secretary Dame Karlene Davis said midwives were prepared to accept the 2.75% recommended by the pay review body for 2008/2009 – but not the three year 7.9% deal negotiated by unions and the government.

Ms Davis said: ‘The RCM believes that the proposed long-term settlement for the two years after the PRB recommendation represents a potential real-terms cut in the pay of staff in the NHS. We are not prepared to recommend this to our members given trends in the economy and prospects for inflation.’

Kevin Coyne, Unite/CPHVA head of health, said: ‘We have had insufficient time to look at the detail.’

Sharon Holder, GMB national officer for public services added that the unions would consult with members over the proposals – but added they were unlikely to accept.

‘Our members are being hammered by utility bills. Everything has been done at the last minute, we have not had time to consider what the package will mean.’

Mike Jackson, Unison senior national officer, said other staff side organisations had been kept updated about the negotiations through telephone conversations and face-to-face meetings.

He added: ‘It is not true that they weren’t consulted. Other unions had agreed to informal discussions in a small group led by Unison and the RCN.’


Readers' comments (18)

  • I cannot believe the unions see this as a good deal for nurses on the frontline. For the first time since qualifying in the late '80's I now find myself actively seeking employment outside the profession. This will probably lead to an initial pay cut but in terms of lack of respect from the public, increasing stress through staff shortages and increasing workload, this pay offer has finally convinced me that the government are treating us with contempt.
    Despite caring passionately for our profession, I've got to get out whilst still young enough to change profession. If others in a similar position to me choose to do likewise, I can envisage crisis on the wards shortly.

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  • How can the Unions say this is a deal they would have wished for. To start with inflation is higher than what is on offer therefore wipes out any rise that is below inflation due to cost of living ie getting to work petrol costs is but one example.
    The Nursing Profession has let Government after Government walk over us time and time again I feel it is high time they get the rude awakening that is needed and for Nurses to show the Government, no matter who is in power, enough is enough. We are not the ones 'claiming' all these unnecessary expenses which they all all seem to be on the band wagon.
    Our Profession needs to show the Government we mean business NOW show us the respect we deserve.

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  • UNISON and RCN are a joke. 8% in 1 year would be acceptable but definitely not over 3. They should be balloting us for strike action and not rolling over for the government. Why do we pay our union subs at all? They try and placate us by saying it’s the highest rise in the public sector. If that is so, it still leaves us the most poorly paid and understaffed.

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  • I believe that we should not accept a three year pay deal as this would disadvantage us as no one can say what will happen in the future

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  • I can't beleive we are going to get a raw deal again, i have not even been assimilated yet never mind back money for nearly four years, come on unions and do the job we pay you for stick up for the nurses for a change.

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  • How much longer can we accept such insulting pay offers? I have been nursing for nearly 25 years and have seen improvements in pay, but recent years have seen a slide back to the old days! The job has change beyond all recognition. Shame it's not mirrored in our pay packets. I've never striked, but am seriously considering it for the first time. It seems the onlt way to get government to take us seriously. After all we'er only asking for what's fair.

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  • Peter Jackson hits the nail firmly on the head doesn't he...........other unions agreed to INFORMAL negotiations. Sorry but this does not mean that you should then go ahead and forge an agreement with Government. It may have escaped the notice of unison and the Royal College but the basic principals of those who represent our staff should be that they represent their interests, not that of a Government that made numerous staff redundant in 2006/07, saving £1.7bn into the bargain.

    If unison and RCN are seemingly incapable of negotiating a decent settlement then step aside and bring in other organisations such as GMB, Unite and RCM.

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  • Mr Carter claims this deal will inflation proof nurses on the back of a weak acceptance of last years pay award that would quote 'gives greater power in the next pay round'. I find it very difficult to believe that in a world of current and by all expectations above inflation rises in petrol utilities and food etc that anyone could suggest that this puts us a good position for the future. Therefore reject 3yr pay deals and maintain pay increases based on the full findings of the Independant pay review body on a year upon year basis. Time to flex some muscle RCN.

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  • Unite, the GMB and the RCM are right in rejecting this below inflation offer. The government measure (CPI) does not reflect our real expenses which are more accurately shown by the RPI which is around 4.1%. We have already had several years of below inflation pay rises. Unison is unfortunately now just acting as a branch of government (and the RCN always was) and against the interests of its members.

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  • i have been in nursing for 21 years and for the first time i now earn just over 1000 a month after tax and stoppages what a bunch of sheep the unions are they just rolled over again when will they do something for the people who keep the nhs going

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