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Chancellor puts 1 per cent limit on nurse pay rises

  • 27 Comments

Nurses are to get a pay rise of no more than 1 per cent from 2011, the chancellor Alistair Darling has announced.

Setting out his spending plans in Parliament today, Mr Darling said that he will limit pay rises for public sector workers to 1 per cent for two years from 2011-12.

He said the decision was one of a series of “difficult choices”, that “are essential if we are to stick to our plan to halve the deficit and protect the front line”. He added that restricting pay rises would save the government £3.4bn.

But UNISON has condemned Mr Darling’s limit on pay rises as a betrayal of public sector workers.

Responding to the chancellor’s announcement today, general secretary Dave Prentis said: “I am not going to sign up to this. I know how our members feel - they feel angry and betrayed.

“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 added: “We have no idea what inflation will be like in 2011 and beyond. Nor do we know what the future price will be of essentials such as food and fuel. We are on the same side of the street as our members and I won’t let them see their living standards eroded.

“Capping pension contributions will reduce the already small public sector pensions even further. The average pension in local government is just £4,000 a year and less than £2,000 for women. This predicted £1bn savings could end up being paid out as benefits to those very same workers to keep them out of poverty in retirement.”

The decision to limit nurses’ pay rises is new. In the autumn he announced plans to freeze pay for some NHS staff, but only senior employees such as managers and hospital doctors.

Mr Darling said: “We have to be realistic, the spending environment will be tough over the next few years.”

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  • 27 Comments

Readers' comments (27)

  • It makes me angry how the government bail out the banks, we suffer, our patients' suffer, and yet the bankers and management still get massive bonuses. I am a newly qualified nurse and already I am learning that I will never be appriated for my work by the public.

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  • I am due to retire in December 2011, I will have worked in the NHS for 30 years and was looking to a decent pension in my retirement, dont look like that will happen now.

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  • At what point will we take decisive action to ensure our livelihood as well as protect the patient in already underfunded conditions.

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  • Jennifer, I'm still at university and I learnt that a long time ago. Quite a few of my uni friends agree we'd get a better deal working in a damned shop.

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  • I doubt Mr Darling will cap his payrise to just 1%, "i'm alright jack" is any governments mantra. Hit us where you can why don't you pay packet and pension.........

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  • How are my husband and I supposed to support our growing family as a teacher and nurse with this absolutely rediculous decision being made by a people who's pay is in an ever increasing trend (at treble and more what we earn!) with housing allowances and rebates for everything from morgage payments to chocolate lunchtime snacks!?

    The government wonders why skilled workers in the public sector are leaving the country in droves and I can tell you this, it isn't for just the sunnier weather!

    The British Government are so caught up in protecting bankers bonus' and their own earnings (I don't see any MP's giving up their bonus or pay rises to give the government funds a few extra billion!) they are loosing sight of the real people who keep this country going.

    When they need our services and the people caring for them are no longer there (because we've all left for sunnier climates!), when nurses are caring for whole wards alone and patients are dying in their hundreds and thousands maybe they'll see the light - but by then it will be too late!

    How are we going to recruit and retain staff to care for my children when bigwigs are forcing them to change careers and countries to make a living?

    The decisions to announce this I'm sure was "difficult" but obviously easier than capping his own pay rise - that is if he make re-election!

    If there was ever a time public sector workers needed to stand together and be counted, now is that time - before our livelyhoods are gone. I've never been one for walking out and striking but if my union asked me to today, I'd have no problem!

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  • Although it seems very unfair, the bankers are paid such high rates because they are considered to be the best at their game. It is not dissimilar to the way our consultants and GP's are paid. Although I believe the wages are inflated for the benefits we get from them, we are forced to accept this for if we penalise the bankers and other high pay workers we could end up being the poorest country in europe.

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  • I am just doing my degree in district nursing and i am getting dis heartened we try our hardest and we are well educated and don't get any reward. thank goodness our patients don't see us that way or i would be walking out the door. stick in there everyone and remember why we do it that card and that look in your patients eye when they say thankyou and you know you have made a difference thats what i keep in my mind xx

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  • I think things will get a lot harder before we get out of this recession. They are acting a lot harder in Ireland, their PM has taken a 20% pay cut & all other public sector workers have pay cuts too.
    As UK nurses we should perhaps point out where cuts CAN happen rather than just say "not us".
    Recovery CAN happen if we all pull together!

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  • The way things are going just HAVING a job will be a big thing.

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