Nurses are to get a pay rise of no more than 1 per cent from 2011 as part of the chancellor’s efforts to restrict public spending.
Alistair Darling announced the pay rise limit, which will apply for at least two years, in his pre-Budget report last Wednesday.
Nursing unions’ reactions to the announcement differed. Unison general secretary Dave Prentis described the pay cap as a betrayal that would anger public sector workers. “It is just not on to make nurses, social workers, dinner ladies, cleaners and hospital porters pay the price for the folly of the bankers,” he said.
However, Royal College of Nursing general secretary Peter Carter suggested nurses would accept the decision if it protected their jobs (see left). He said: “Nurses live in the real world and realise that pay rises are difficult in the current tough economic climate.”
Nurses responding to the news on nursingtimes.net last week also had mixed views. One said: “It makes student nurses like my self wonder why we bother training.”
But another suggested the profession should be more proactive. “As UK nurses we should perhaps point out where cuts can happen rather than just say “not us,” they said.
Next year salaries will rise by 2.25 per cent as planned. The government’s five-year NHS strategy, also published last week, confirmed the final year of the three-year pay deal would be honoured.
The chancellor also announced a cap on the amount that employers would contribute to public sector pensions. However, this will mean no change to NHS pensios, where a limit was agreed last year in return for protecting the final salary scheme.