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Public sector pay cap divides nursing unions


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 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.


Readers' comments (6)

  • So. Peter Carter says that nurses would accept the pay cap. That shows how much he values health and the nursing profession. If he thinks nurses are stupid, perhaps he is right.Well,those in the RCN anyway, as they pay his salary and expenses.

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  • I am urging all nurses to reject any pay deal that is 1% or less. The Managers who are running our trusts in to the ground are getting massive bonuses where as the staff on the ground are the ones stressed out putting up with staff shortages for no reward. Its time we as nurses valued ourselves more because if we dont no one else will.

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  • Why should we take a 1% pay rise, we work damn hard for a pitance of a salary as it is, why don't the government stop giving out all these bonuses to the top 'knobs' and pay us nurses what we deserve, a decent wage. we have to pay our bills like everyone else so why should we accept 1%? can just see the 'knobs' accepting 1% for their rise. NOT!!!!
    It really makes you wonder what they will ask of us next!

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  • Why not 'cap' the bankers pay and transfer the money saved into the NHS budget to allow us to have an inflation linked realistic pay rise - instead of this covertly delivered pay cut.
    After all - some of the bankers could now be described as public sector workers - could they not?
    Nurses are not a greedy bunch - we just work damnd hard for our money - and we ARE WORTH IT!

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  • Totally agree with the above comments, we get paid less than all other public sector roles too. The call center monkeys at my local council get more than me to answer the phone!

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  • 'It really makes you wonder what they will ask of us next!'

    don't hear anyone 'asking' anything!

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