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Nurse and midwife strike action suspended after new pay offer

  • 34 Comments

NHS trade unions have suspended a 12 hour strike on Thursday, after the government appeared to give in to union demands offering a 1% pay rise to NHS staff.

Unions, including Unison, Unite, the Royal College of Midwives and the GMB, will now consult members over the offer, which follows several meetings with Department of Health officials and health secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The offer is for a consolidated, or pensionable, 1% pay rise for all staff up to band 8B on the Agenda for Change pay framework with an additional £200 consolidated payment for lower paid staff on pay points 3-8.

In a letter of offer to NHS trade unions, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the pay offer would apply to 1.1m staff under Agenda for Change.

The Department of Health said it had also negotiated that staff earning more than £40,558 will not receive an increment rise in April this year.

It has also agreed to hold talks over a possible redundancy cap for those staff leaving the NHS from April 2015 which would effectively cap redundancy payments to a maximum of £160,000.

According to the Department of Health these changes would mean the deal will not increase the NHS pay bill in 2015-16. It said this has enabled it to make the 1% pay offer.

The offer also includes a commitment from the government to the NHS Pay Review Body to continue to make future recommendations on pay uplift for NHS staff in 2016-17.

Unions held two four-hour strikes last year after the government rejected the review body’s recommendation of a 1% pay increase, claiming it would lead to nursing staff redundancies.

Union members had been due to escalate their protests in England and Northern Ireland with a 24-hour strike on Thursday. They had also been planning to work to rule between 30 January and 24 February, followed by a second 24-hour strike on 25 February.

“This isn’t a great offer but it addresses some of the key concerns unions have about low pay in the NHS”

Christina McAnea

Unsion head of health and lead negotiator, Christina McAnea said: “The two strike days staged by health workers last year have moved the government to negotiate with the unions.

“This isn’t a great offer but it addresses some of the key concerns unions have about low pay in the NHS. In the interest of patients’ safety unions will now consult members,” she said.

“It will be up to members to decide whether to accept or reject the proposals. If they choose to reject them we will move to further industrial action,” she added.

 

 

The Royal College of Midwives has confirmed it will suspend industrial action and recommend members accept the offer.

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “I am pleased the government came to the negotiating table to seek a solution.

“I believe this offer represents the best that can be achieved by negotiations and we will consult with members in England,” she said.

Meanwhile, GMB national officer Rehana Azam said: “GMB is pleased that after a week of talks we have secured a new offer.

“This enables us to suspend the strike action while we consult with our members on whether they wish to accept the offer or not,” she added.

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of the NHS Employers said he was “delighted” Thursday’s strike had been called off saying: “It is the right decision for patients and puts us all in a better position to start talking about long-term solutions.

“If the unions proceed to fully accept the proposed pay agreement it will demonstrate a commitment and signal the start of a period of negotiations to deliver long term pay reform in the NHS,” he added.

The Royal College of Nursing, which chose not to ballot its members for industial action, also welcomed the offer and said its council would be considering the government’s proposals.

Unions and governments in Wales and Scotland have both previously reached agreement on NHS pay rises.

 

What do you think?

Share your thoughts in our Twitter debate today at 1pm (Wednesday 28 January). Search for #NTtwitchat and use the hashtag in any tweets you’d like to be part of the chat.

 

 

  • 34 Comments

Readers' comments (34)

  • We had a 1% non-consolidated pay rise last year, due another 1% on top this year (from April 2015). Does this mean, if accepted, next year we will go back down to 1%? The only difference is this will be consolidated i.e. pensionable pay and the 1% will be added to the pay scale. I don't see how this is much of a victory, other than it being consolidated. Am I missing something here?

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  • john warwick

    wow that will give me what 240 pounds more a year just enough to pay the rise in my NMC registration fee,

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  • but what about all the other things that NHS England want to do like take the unsocial pay off us, reduce holidays by two weeks, have a rolling rota. Or have these things been swept under the carpet to be brought in anyway because we are gullible to accept the 1% and forget the rest

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  • whoop whoop a whole 1% maybe, however the loss of unsocial hours pay, increased registration fees and hospital car parking (2nd year at 10%). I will really enjoy my pay cut. thanks HMG yu know how to kick someone when they are down. Now who shall I vote for in 99 days time.

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  • unions sell us out again, a whole 1% wow. thanks unions, thanks alot.

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  • If this 1%, previously recommended by the Pay Review Body, is 'the best that can be achieved by negotiations' and 'signal the start of a period of negotiations to deliver long term pay reform in the NHS' then I am even more worried about the future of the NHS.

    Just feels like this government could claim they listened, gave staff what they wanted and secured patients care. This should of happened when they got elected, not 100 days before the next election.

    It's not a 10% rise which would be more like what staff are worth, and that would secure the staff needed for safe patients care.

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  • From the previous comments, I know this point of view may not be the most favourable, but think of this as a victory! The industrial action was aimed at achieving just this and, with the sacrifice of a few caps on higher bands etc, it has succeeded. Did you really expect the unions to go in there demanding the 1% that had been recommended and the government turning around and saying "oh, I see your point. Here, have a 10% pay rise instead"?
    What this has proved is that by standing firm together, we have more power. The next time negotiations take place, there may be more than just a few of us stood on the picket lines giving up our pay while others just whinge about it. If we spread that belief among our colleagues, then we may be able to go for more next time. Plus all of the other issues that have been mentioned will now be negotiated from a much stronger position and therefore we are more likely to get a positive outcome.
    Stay positive! This may only be a minor victory, but it is a victory that sets a precedent.

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  • Strangely enough this has happened just a few months before the general election. Funny that! Cynical, me? Never!

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  • to anonymous 1033am

    its always the next time and hunt didn't say it was good for staff just the patients-sorry but we all have families and bills to pay this offer is crap-

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  • http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/nhs/11374158/NHS-Hospital-in-Lincoln-under-fire-over-spoof-video.html



    Well done Lincoln - great show!

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  • We dont have to accept it. The least we should accept is that last years pay rise is consolidated.

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  • Don't be to overcome with excitement. Pay review body recommended 1%for current year and/ same for 2015\16. Stopping increments for higher paid , I read band 8c and above last night, this article suggests 8a . Could be thin edge of wedge in future pay awards .Current arguments is that top increment is correct rate for job. We work towards it. Same applies to 8a and above . I sense divide and conquer tactics are long term plans

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  • Yet another pay cut. Absolute insult, especially in an election year. Although no level would buy my vote, it is decidedly short sighted with staff haemorrhaging from wards and departments almost everywhere. Making people work longer is just making people leave earlier and leave the NHS or even the country.
    Unless there is a substantial rise very soon we will have inadequate numbers of staff available at any price, even stealing staff from the developing nations can only last so long.

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  • Wakes wakey! Don't think for one second this government is seriously going to give nurses a decent wage, for goodness sake.
    Think back to the time They were awarded a pay rise, and a tax cut, at the same time, wailing that You weren't worth any more than a pitiful 1%, and not everyone in the NHS received that offer.
    Don't be charmed by David Cameron's superficial promises. He is quite plainly ....a Liar.

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  • I agree with comments by anon 10:33am above -

    the unions only asked for 1% and acceptance of the pay review body recommendations, and this is what they got. The health minister saved face by not giving much away.

    The point is that industrial action has worked! Even though the RCN opted out but agrees to take the money!

    Imagine what could happen in the future if the unions manage to get organised. No whingeing, just action for the next round.

    That's what people need to learn.

    The next thing to oppose is govt proposals to interfere with the union ballots, so that a large number of eligible members have to vote.

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  • Forgot to add -as mentioned above.

    Health service workers have traditionally never got pay rises from conservative governments. Never ever.

    Though it's hard to know which party is which these days.

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  • Anonymous | 28-Jan-2015 8:53 am

    unions sell us out again, a whole 1% wow. thanks unions, thanks alot.

    Did you go out on strike on the previous occassions? I bet you didn't. Did you work to rule? I bet you didn't. Have you read the actual result - it appears you haven't. Unions are now discussing with their members the offer and whether we want to accept it or not.

    I stood on the picket lines with 9 other people out of a workforce of 4,000 and a union membership of just over a thousand. Where are you all - you moan when you don't get a rise but do nothing about it, you moan when we actually get a result, albeight a pathetic one, and then come on here and complain again.

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  • The never-ending question is today or tomorrow?
    Part of me says 1% is better than nothing - take it and run because that is all you'll get.
    However, most of me says - you are being sold down the river again - this is a fob off and when you account for all the other stuff that you have to shell out on - it's less than nothing % in my pocket.

    It seems very timely that the Tory government can say that they gave more to the Nurses, averted a strike and safeguarded patients at election time. Or am I just an old cynic?

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  • bob cat

    How do we think this sits right next to an 11% payrise?
    Do we think there is any whisper of hypocrisy here?
    Do we really imagine there is any realistic prospect of being taken care of as a valued resource?
    What is the underlying philosophy of the decision makers here?

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  • I must say am shocked and disgusted that nurses have gone on or threatened strike action, this is not the action of REAL nurses but the action of CAREER NURSES. Nurses are there to care for patients when they turn their backs on patients for more money they would be better off working in a firm doing paper work, peoples lives are at risk, once harm is done it cannot be undone, not rubbed out with an eraser. Whoever you are you should be ashamed.

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