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Nurses deserve a 15% pay rise, the RCN says

Nurses who have endured pay freezes and salary restraint deserve to be paid 15% more than they are currently on, the RCN has said.

Nurses who have endured pay freezes and salary restraint deserve to be paid 15% more than they are currently on, the RCN has said.

In March, the government announced that it would cap public sector pay increases at a maximum of 1% a year between now and the 2020 general election.

Earlier this month, Jeremy Hunt signalled that pay restraint is set to continue for the 2017-2018 pay award.

In a letter to the NHS Pay Review Body (RB), an independent committee which makes recommendations on NHS staff pay, Mr Hunt said pay restraint was a ‘crucial’ part of government plans to control public finances.

Union review

Unions have told Nursing Standard they plan to highlight the economic pressures facing nurses in their own submissions about the 2017-2018 pay award to the RB later this year.

RCN senior employment relations adviser Gerry O’Dwyer said: ‘Our argument is that nurse wages, because of the pay freeze and now pay rises of only 1%, should be 15% higher than they are now.’

Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said his union will urge a rethink on public sector pay. He has previously warned that nurses are struggling to make ends meet as inflation outstrips the 1% pay rises seen in recent years.

He said: ‘Broadly we will be saying that it is time for the government to change the record and to have a rethink of what they do on public sector pay.

‘It seems Jeremy Hunt hasn’t changed his tune and he wants this austerity to continue.’

Both unions said they will also raise the impact of changes to the state pension on nurses.

In April, the government created a single state pension which means members of the NHS pension scheme earning between £155 and £770 a week must pay an extra 1.4% national insurance contribution (NI).

Pension changes

The Department of Health (DH) said individuals affected by changes to the state pension will build a larger state pension as a result.

Nurses earning £25,000 to £39,999 now pay an extra £5.75 a week in NI contributions, according to the DH, while those earning more than £40,000 pay an extra £9 a week.

Staff earning £15,000 to £24,999 contribute an extra £2.75 a week.

A DH spokesperson said: ' Public sector pension schemes, including the NHS pension scheme are amongst the best available.'

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