Unions have warned the body that advises the government on NHS salaries of the “damage” that will be caused by continuing the pay freeze next year.
The impact of job cuts, high inflation, the pay freeze and proposed pension changes are already destroying morale and threatening the quality of care, health unions have told the Pay Review Body.
The government plans to freeze pay for another year from 2012 for all NHS staff apart from those earning under £21,000, who will receive £250.
However, it will listen to a recommendation from the review body, which will examine written evidence from a range of organisations before ministers make a final decision.
NHS Staff Council side-staff secretary Josie Irwin said: “Coalition policy means that nurses face suffering a second year of [real terms] pay cuts. This comes on top of unprecedented change and upheaval in the NHS – leading to low morale, uncertainty and insecurity.”
But NHS Employers, which represents trusts, has argued in its submission to the PRB that employers are “very concerned” about even having to pay the £250 to lower paid staff.
Health unions met last week with Department of Health officials as part of ongoing negotiations over planned changes to the pension scheme, ahead of a second meeting on Thursday with coalition ministers. But Nursing Times understands there was little movement from the government.
Some unions, including Unison and Unite, have already announced a “day of action” on 30 November to fight against changes to pensions. The Royal College of Nursing is holding a meeting on Friday to decide whether to ballot members.