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Unions warn against 'damaging' pay freeze


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.

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Readers' comments (15)


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  • Right then.... let's start planning for strikes against the freeze - and cuts in general. Can anyone imagine the French tolerating this crap?

    Will the Rcn ever get off the fence? Why do nurses join an organisation that is so in bed with the authorities? They almost make Clegg's Liberals look principled...

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  • And that's why i'm in Unison!!!

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  • I think we need to prepare for battle and sort ranks abolishing the RCN as it is now and bring a completely new union for nurses, run by nurses (still registered and "on the floor" as it were).. We could call it "THE UK NATIONAL UNION OF NURSES"?????

    What do people think?... A force to be reckoned with? haha

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  • I agree with Anonymous The RCN has to act for its members, or else I for one will be leaving the organisation.

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  • So let's see - a third of the nursing workforce are set to retire in the next 10 years. If the government have their way we will have 2 consecutive years of real term pay cuts AND have to contribute substantially more to our pensions, in terms of time served and money, all because a) We're behind the baby boom who are reaping the benefits of being able to retire at 60 b)we 40 somethings are slogging our guts out trying to care for patients with none of the tax breaks that younger workers are gaining c) Why would anyone undertake a degree in nursing for such a pittance when they can graduate in another career with a better salary and prospects. Why the hell would anyone want to become a nurse now? - I've discouraged both my daughters from undertaking such a doomed career - there is no respect or professionalism attached to nursing in the UK anymore.... From a very disgruntled and disillusion nurse who's been in the NHS 27 years!

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  • I agree, I mean how do they expect us to work clinically till we're 66! It's just not feasible - will it lead to massive redeployment/retirement on ill health! Or maybe the government want to kill us on the job so that they don't have to pay us any pension at all!!!!!

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  • This is from another very disgruntled and disillusioned nurse who has been in the NHS for 33 years, I have also deterred my daughter from becoming a nurse.
    Its going from bad to worse.

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  • Roll on 30th November!!!

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  • Strike!!!! Storm parliament!!!!! Raise hell and let slip the bloody dogs of war!!!! We shouldn't be waiting for the strike action being organised by UNISON and UNITE, we should just down tools and walk out right now! And for all those who start using the old emotional blackmail bull***t, what the hell will it take for you to understand? We NEED to stop this, NOW!!! We cannot afford to take another pay cut!

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