They say the move is necessary as many trusts use local arrangements that are legacies from the Whitley pay scales, which were superseded by the Agenda for Change arrangements in 2004.
The consultation is expected to last 18 months and follows a similar exercise that harmonised unsocial hours payments.
Nursing staff who are most likely to be affected by the consultation are midwives and mental health nurses.
Josie Irwin, RCN head of employment relations, said: ‘This was unfinished business and there are likely to be complex negotiations because there are varied sets of arrangements in different areas of the country.
‘There are different arrangements for different groups of staff as well as different organisations.
‘Equal pay requires a move towards harmonisation and this is what the review is all about.’
Barrie Brown, Unite/CPHVA head of nursing, said: ‘The first part will be collecting information about the range of on-call payments across the NHS. We had quite a challenge to get the unsocial hours review negotiated – but we got there in the end. We will have to do the same here.’
New arrangements for unsocial hours payments, agreed this year by unions and NHS Employers, came into force on 1 April (NT News, 29 January, p3).