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Nurses unwilling to sign for three-year pay deal

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Nurses have said they are reluctant to accept a multi-year pay rise similar to that offered to teachers last week.

Teachers were offered a multi-year deal of 2.45% for 2008–2009, followed by two 2.3% pay rises and further reviews of their pay each year. Included in the deal are increases in the minimum and maximum wages for teachers and a London weighting bonus.
Unison has calculated that the deal is worth 7.2% over the three years of the agreement – but the extra London weighting and other clauses could make it worth more.
The deal would mean that a newly qualified teacher with no London living allowance would receive a salary of £20,627, almost £1,000 more than their nursing equivalent at the bottom of Agenda for Change Band 5.
Earlier this month, the government said it wanted to cap public sector pay at 2% for three years, and negotiations are under way. However, nurses have said they are reluctant to accept a multi-year deal, even a better deal like the one offered to teachers, because of the dangers of inflation.
Janice Bailey, sister at University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust, said:
‘I just feel that the government will not stick with any agreement that they decide, because
they did not stick with the review body’s recommendations last year.
‘I feel very reluctant about any three-year deal – we don’t know what is going to happen with inflation. I don’t think I would accept this.’
Jane Scullion, respiratory nurse consultant at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, added: ‘[The government] thinks if they sign people up for a three-year deal, it will keep them quiet.’
Lisa Falconer, staff nurse at NHS Lothian, said: ‘You can clearly say that this will not cover the costs of inflation.’
Mike Travis, RCN steward at Royal Liverpool Children’s NHS Trust, added: ‘I would not
be accepting this. We have already lost a year’s parity with teachers [because of the staged pay award].’

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