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RCN and other health unions call for 3.9% pay rise for NHS staff

The RCN and other unions representing more than a million health workers have called directly on the government for an above inflation pay rise, ramping up pressure for an end to years of wage austerity.

The RCN and other unions representing more than a million health workers have called directly on the government for an above inflation pay rise, ramping up pressure for an end to years of wage austerity.

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Fourteen health unions including the RCN, Unison, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Unite and the GMB have written to the chancellor Philip Hammond.

In a break with tradition, unions have submitted a pay claim directly to the government rather than the independent NHS pay review body (RB).

They are asking him to earmark funds in the November budget for a pay rise in line with retail price index inflation, currently 3.9%, and an additional £800 to restore some of the pay lost over the past seven years.

The unions said NHS workers including nurses, midwives, radiographers, pharmacists, paramedics, therapists, dental technicians, caterers, porters and cleaners have suffered real terms pay cuts of about 15% in recent years because of the government's 'harsh pay policies'.

Review undermined

Unions usually submit evidence to the RB, but they said the government has undermined the review body's role and 'severely restricted' its ability to make recommendations.

The government signalled an easing of the pay cap on Tuesday by announcing a 2% pay rise for the police and 1.7% for prison officers.

But unions representing millions of other public sector employees voiced anger, accusing the government of trying to divide workers.

Years of loss

RCN general secretary Janet Davies said: 'If the government gives nurses the same deal as the police it would still be a real terms pay cut.

'Nursing staff must be given a pay rise that matches inflation, with an additional consolidated lump sum that begins to make up for the years of lost pay.

'When the next pay review body process begins, the government must allow it to be truly independent and able to recommend a meaningful increase that helps hardworking staff with the cost of living.

'It must be fully funded and not force the NHS to cut services or jobs to pay for it.'

RCM director for employment relations Jon Skewes said: 'This claim represents fair compensation for the rise in the cost in living and goes some way to make up for midwives' pay losing over £6,000 in value since 2010.'


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