Nurse pay looks set to dominate the agenda once again next year, as the government’s hard-line stance has sparked fears of further staged awards across the public sector.
Last week the Police Federation passed a vote of no confidence in home secretary Jacqui Smith and called for a ballot on whether existing laws banning them from striking should be overturned.
The government is insisting that police officers accept a staged 2.5% pay award, similar to the one grudgingly accepted by nurse unions in the autumn.
Mike Jackson, Unison senior national officer for health, said: ‘We understand the frustration of the Police Federation in having their pay award staged. If the government were to stage pay awards for a second year, there is a strong possibility that this will lead to industrial action in the health service.’
Barrie Brown, Unite/CPHVA head of nursing, added: ‘It is a very bad sign. It gives a message that is very threatening message – considering we are just a couple of months away from the review body making a recommendation for next year.’
Evidence submitted by the review body by the government and NHS Employers has recommended rises of just 2% for all staff on Agenda for Change pay scales.