Nurses in England look set to get 1% pay rise

The Royal College of Midwives, Unison, RCN and GMB say they will accept the 1% pay rise for 2015/16

Most nurses in England look set to receive a 1% pay rise in April after members of four unions voted to accept the government’s pay deal.

The RCN, Unison, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and GMB have voted in favour of the offer, made by the government at the end of January just days before a planned 12-hour strike.

It signals the end of a long-running dispute that began in March last year when health secretary Jeremy Hunt ignored a recommendation by the NHS Pay Review Body (RB) that all staff should get a 1% rise.

Under the deal negotiated last month for 2015/16, nurses earning up to £56,504 will get a 1% pay rise, which will be paid for by freezing incremental progression for those staff earning more than £40,558.

The deal also includes £200 for staff earning between £15,000 and £17,425, and a 5.6% rise for those on the lowest salary of £14,300.

In October and November, angry nurses staged their first strikes for 34 years and midwives went on strike for the first time in the RCM’s history after Mr Hunt refused to bow to pressure to give staff the 1% rise.

This week Unison members voted by 67% in favour of the deal and RCM members were 93.9% in favour.

Unison head of health Christina McAnea said: ‘By ignoring the recommendations of the RB for England, the government forced health workers to take strike action over pay for the first time in 34 years.

‘Their industrial action has forced the government to negotiate with us and sent a warning that NHS workers will not sit back and do nothing when their standard of living is attacked,’ she added.

RCN members voted by 60% to accept the offer today. RCN general secretary Peter Carter said: ‘This offer falls far short of what our members deserve. It is particularly hard on more senior and specialist nurses, who are particularly critical of the future of the NHS.’

However, 51% of Unite members said no to the deal.

NHS Employers chief executive Danny Mortimer said: ‘It is now likely that these difficult months of NHS industrial action are over. This will be a huge relief for many patients, staff and health services.’

Unions and NHS employers will meet on March 9 to make a decision on whether to accept the deal. If agreed, it will be implemented in April.

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