The government has offered nurses a three-year pay deal that could give them a pay rise of nearly 8% by 2011.
Following a recommendation of 2.75% from the NHS Pay Review body on Friday, health unions went into negotiations with the government and thrashed out a three-year deal worth 7.99% over the weekend.
In 2008-2009, nurses and other NHS non-medical staff will get a pay rise of 2.75%, which honours the recommendations of the Pay Review Body in full.
Pay rises for the following two years were then negotiated by the RCN, Unison and the government, which propose NHS staff get an extra 2.4% in 2009-2010 and 2.25% the following year.
A further 0.59% will be gained by reworking Agenda for Change pay bands five and six to give nurses more money in the final two years of the deal.
Another clause in the deal means the NHS Pay Review Body could be called in to make recommendations if the economy deteriorates and changes to the lower pay bands will create an NHS minimum wage of £6.77 per hour.
The RCN and Unison, whose negotiators agreed the proposals with the government, will now consult with other health unions and their members over the deal.
RCN general secretary Peter Carter said: ‘We have always said we would only consider signing up to a three-year pay deal if it was fair and offered nurses protection against future rises in inflation. We are delighted to put the RCN’s name to a proposal that does just that.’
Karen Jennings, Unison head of health, said: ‘The proposed deal adheres to the pay review body recommendations and is the highest in the public sector.’
However the Royal College of Midwifery has not recommended the deal to members, saying it would mean a real-terms cut in wages.