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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)

  • Linda Reynolds
    What else is there for ordinary hard working nurses to do we tried work to rule but still cannot leave on time. Nurses are not angels they are not any better than anyone else, we are humans just like everyone else and with the demand for more patient care and less nurses we are feeling the strain big time.
    We all must look after ourselves otherwise we will be no good for the job we have to do.
    Real Nurses are Real Humans.

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  • Dear Lynda Reynolds,

    Your thoughts and reasoning behind your comment are admirable in an ideal and utopian world. However the rest of us live in the real world with mouths to feed and bills to pay just the same as people who work in "firms doing paperwork". We all work hard under tremendous pressures and stress and are prepared to make sacrifices often financially, and in our personal lives to do a job we love. Unfortunately successive governments over the years have taken advantage of our ethos and we have arrived at the situation we have today, where people are pushed beyond the limit and reluctantly concluding that enough is enough.

    Yes people are leaving the profession and yes others will take their place. But ask yourself this question. If you were at the start of your working life with your hopes and dreams in front of you. Then having seen the state of things as they stand today for people working in the NHS, would you seriously consider devoting your whole working life to healthcare, or would you opt to work for the firm doing paperwork who attract, recruit, and retain their valued staff by order of remuneration?

    Ill leave you with this thought

    "our aim is to have a society where hard work is rewarded." David Cameron.

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  • The new starters are also leaving in droves, because the pay and working conditions are not attractive. They have degrees, so can choose what to do. The ongoing supply of workers from poverty-stricken countries with high unemployment will continue, but these people do not usually stay long and go back to their home countries.

    The underlying economic theory is that market forces rule. If people can be found to do the work on that pay, then why give them 11%?

    The workforce needs to mobilise; and the taxpayers will get what they are prepared to pay for. That is the reality of capitalism

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  • bob cat

    Linda Reynolds, with respect trying to shame people in such a condescending way will not help persuade to your cause. You are calling on the politics of division which is exactly what psychopaths love and thrive on, and helps no-one. It doesn't look after your colleagues and therefore doesn't look after patients so you end up doing exactly what you are accusing others of.
    A more collaborative approach might work better

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  • And the PCSO community police officers have just agreed a 2.2% pay rise through Unison. Again we're being given pittance. As a previous reader commented, just about cover the NMC registration fee this year!

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  • Linda Reynolds above must work for the Tory HQ propaganda department. Even 'REAL' nurses have to pay their mortgages and food bills and are entirely right to use the weapon of last resort - industrial action - when all negotiations have failed because of the intransigence of the government in refusing to implement the recommendations of an independent review panel. And as the husband of a nurse, knowing the pressures she's under every day, I'd say the 11% given to MPs would have been better given to nurses.

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  • ??COPD18 | 30-Jan-2015 7:12 pm

    wage payers, your employers, patients and the potential public service users are not interested in your mortgage. they pay you to do a job according to their rules and professional standards to care for the sick, what you choose to do with your wages is incidental.

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  • I think about the patients and not about politics, Politics are of no real interest to me, Patient care was and is all that interests me. Think about your loved ones and also yourselves being a patient , then think what would happen if thenurses were on strike. I have never agreed to strike action in principle, and I was nursing in the time when nurses were really underpaid and not like today, your wages are no where as low as when I was training and working in the seventies and eighties.In fact the wags are good today. Patient care was my prority so please dont tell me what I am. I know when was a single mother on low wages in the seventies ( and they were really low) I then would not strike, I trained as a nurse and the care of patients was my priority, it was hard then but I survived. I am glad that the money is better for you all now, but what they say is true, the more you have the more you want. Please consider the sick a bit more. I

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  • ¨...and if you looked after patients instead otherwise you may find yourselves out of a job, not missed, and unable to find another!!!!!!!

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  • All this 1% means is that what we had last year is just being consolidated; we are no further forward.

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