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Unions accept latest government 1% pay offer for NHS staff

  • 15 Comments

Unions have agreed to accept the government’s pay offer for NHS staff in England, following a crunch meeting with employers today.

The decision means they have called off further industrial action, which was suspended when the government put forward a new offer in January.

“There is still the residual bad feeling about what happened last year with Jeremy Hunt’s decision not to implement a pay recommendation by the review body”

Barrie Brown

The government’s proposed offer was overwhelmingly accepted at today’s NHS Staff Council meeting between unions – including Unison, the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Midwives and Unite – and employers.

The deal for 2015-16 will see all NHS staff in England who earn up to pay point 42 – the second point on band 8c (£56,504) – receive a 1% consolidated pay rise on 1 April.

However, all NHS workers on pay point 34 – the second point of band 8a (£40,458) – and above will see their increment pay frozen.

 

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Staff at the lower end of Agenda for Change pay scales will receive additional benefits, such as an additional £200 consolidated payment for those on pay points 3 to 8 – those who earn up to £17,425.

The government also made a commitment to continue to use the independent NHS Pay Review Body when deciding future remuneration for health service staff.

Unison, the RCN and RCM have all announced over recent weeks that their members had voted to accept the deal, while Unite had not revealed its ballot results until today.

The RCN said 60% of members who voted were in favour and 40% against, while 67% of Unison voters were in favour and 32% were against.

Meanwhile, GMB said 81% of its NHS members in England voted to accept and 19% to reject. The RCM announced that its members wanted to accept the deal at the end of February.

Unite’s national officer for health Barrie Brown told Nursing Times today that 51% of its members taking part in the ballot had voted to reject the offer, while 49% had accepted.

He said on that basis, the union had been the only union to reject the offer at the meeting today.

“There was overhwelming acceptance of the pay offer by all the unions, with one exception being Unite because we had a very narrow vote to reject,” he said.

He added: “Within our membership we’ve got hospital physicists who are highly paid and highly skilled scientists, pharmacists who are also in bands 8 and 9, and also clinical pyschologists, so we have a significant proportion who are in the higher bands who are going to get absolutely nothing from the pay award.”

“On the other hand a lot of the lower paid staff are getting a pretty good deal and we support that as we have done in the past,” he said.

“Employers do understand the anxieties of staff and urgently want to discuss sustainable ways to move away from pay restraint”

Danny Mortimer

He added: “But there is still the residual bad feeling about what happened last year with [health secretary] Jeremy Hunt’s decision not to implement a pay recommendation by the review body, which had never been done before.”

Mr Brown said other longer term elements included within the pay deal – such as arrangements for Agenda for Change in the future – would now need to be consulted on.

Christina McAnea, chair of the trade union representation on the NHS Staff Council and head of health for Unison, said: “The determination and courage of health workers up and down the country forced the government to negotiate with the health unions.

“The pay deal will make a difference to over 250,000 of the lowest-paid workers in the NHS.”

She added: “By ignoring the recommendations of the NHS Pay Review Body for England, the government angered a whole workforce, with some taking strike action for the first time in 34 years, and others for the first time ever.

“The campaign to improve pay in the NHS goes on. Health workers will not sit back and do nothing when their standard of living is being attacked. This should send a strong warning to any government elected in May.”

Responding to the decision, Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said: “This will be a huge relief for NHS organisations and for the thousands of patients and staff who were disrupted by industrial action.

“Employers do understand the anxieties of staff and urgently want to discuss sustainable ways to move away from pay restraint,” he said. “We are now in a position to start those crucial discussions.

“Any solution will need to support better, safer and more responsive services to patients and more efficient use of NHS resources,” he added.

The government put forward its renewed pay offer for all NHS staff in England in January, causing unions to suspend a planned 12-hour strike in order to consult members on the proposals.

The move followed two four-hour strikes held in the autumn – on 13 October and on 24 November.

  • 15 Comments

Readers' comments (15)

  • I have just accepted a band 8A post having been a clinical band 7 for many years. I realised that I would be worse off for the first couple of years because I wouldn't have the unsocial hours payments I am used to. I accepted this because the expected continued yearly increments would make up for it in the long run. I am very disappointed that the unions have accepted this deal.

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  • I regret there was not a better outcome, more fitting to the efforts that people put in around the NHS at all levels. However, when you look at the responses and then try to work out how to translate that into mobilising members to take action (especially as many of them now have what the Pay Review Body said they should have had in the first place) it is hard to argue with the union decisions. Even UNITE members, who might have been expected to reject the offer in any case did so by a small margin and one which would not fill any strike organiser with enthusiasm. And no, I am not pleased that staff in some bands will not have what they should have had under the PRB, but I would direct my blame elsewhere - this would not have happened had NHS England not decided in a calculated way after political nudging to push hard pressed staff even harder (most had already reluctantly accepted that the below inflation 1% was as good as it was going to get). 7 day working at no extra cost will be the next challenge, and I think that that one will be much more likely to provoke anger and action if whichever government emerges does not recognise the workforce has been pushed far enough

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  • Looks like only one of the striking unions voted against the pay deal. Unfortunately doesn't look like this will be backdated to 2014-15 as well as from April 2015.

    As rubbish as this deal is, it was what the Pay Review Body recommended last year, just that the government made a massive issue out of it (and happy to be paid far more than the average nurse).

    As the economy is improving and if politicians really do value nurses and carers, then put money where their mouth is and properly remunerate.
    If pay remains relatively low, staff are likely to take up agency work in their spare time to make ends meet.

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  • cant blame anyone working for an agency, they pay better, if we were bankers it would be the opposite - ie justifying large pay as the talent would go abroad, yet when good nurse with talent go abroad the government fails to notice or care. the media think nurses shouldn't get paid at all, the never ending venol directed at nurses says it all

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  • Last year's pay (2014-15) is being given as a 'bonus', what a joke, that language doesn't even exist in the NHS for clinical staff at the coal face.
    Staff that have worked 20-30 years to achieve Band 8 salaries have been kicked in the face by this pay deal because it included a reduction in the amount of redundancy pay that can be paid in the event of being made redundant - from April 1st 2015! Services are making redundancies every day, including my own, and targeting staff on higher pay.

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  • i have worked for 35 years in the NHS and earned my band 8a which left me taking a reduction in salary which i was happy to do as i felt with increments it would be worth while , i do not get any extra duty payments despite staying most days at least 3 hours extra just to get my work done and help out clinically when the unit is busy.
    The lack of increments will see many 8a midwives and nurses taking home far less than their band 7 colleagues. Many will be wondering is all the extra responsibility worth it.

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  • Anons at 5.40 and 8.30pm
    You are supporting the case for a review of unsocial hours payments and a rebalancing of the structure of remuneration available. Too much of the total pay bill is dependent on when things are done rather than the level of responsibility or skill.

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  • quoting "Staff that have worked 20-30 years to achieve Band 8 salaries have been kicked in the face by this pay deal because it included a reduction in the amount of redundancy pay that can be paid in the event of being made redundant - from April 1st 2015!"

    I didn't see this anywhere on the text that came with my ballot. Sure there was stuff about no increment for 8c and above or whatever, but nothing about eroding redundancy packages. Is there a source for this please?

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  • ANON 9 Mar 8.30

    "I have worked for 35 years in the NHS and earned my band 8a which left me taking a reduction in salary which i was happy to do as i felt with increments it would be worth while , i do not get any extra duty payments despite staying most days at least 3 hours extra just to get my work done and help out clinically when the unit is busy."


    Band 8a first point above band 7 is £42k+ pa. Are you buying that rich person's milk and bread that MPs on £60k can't afford on their salary?

    My vote was to accept as I saw the benefit for lower paid staff - not just about myself who is relatively comfortably off, at the top of band 6.

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  • Well I and many like me are being well and truely shafted I have the pleasure of being employed by the local Authority, (we were NHS as a HV for years) I work in the community, I am on an NHS pension still as I am due to retire within the next 5-8 years it would be financial suicide to change to a LA one However this means I am ineligible for any pay rises unless I go back into NHS employment I am NHS trained have worked 33 years for the NHS and it is still predominantly health work! lovely way to end a career NOT Bitter yes

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