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Government On Brink Of Giving NHS Staff 5% Pay Rise

Indians at UK - NHS Staff

The government is expected to agree to give NHS staff in England their 5% pay increase at a key meeting later. Government and NHS officials will meet representatives from 14 NHS unions covering all staff except for doctors and dentists at lunchtime. The unions will declare whether a majority of the workforce is in favor of the deal, which also includes a one-off lump sum. Union sources said it was almost certain a majority had been reached.

Members of Unison, the GMB, and the unions representing physios and midwives all voted “yes” with just a few of the smaller unions left to declare. Unite, which is holding a series of local strikes this week, is the only major union other than the nurses union the RCN to vote “no”. If the majority give the pay award their backing, it will trigger ministers to sanction the rise and one-off payment, worth at least £1,655, for all staff on the Agenda for Change contract, which covers everyone from nurses and paramedics to porters and cleaners. Those unions who have rejected the deal will still be free to carry on with industrial action – Unite is carrying out a series of local strikes this week.

Indians at UK - NHS Staff

The RCN would, however, need to hold another strike ballot of its members. Its six-month mandate expired at midnight on Monday and its latest walkout ended at that point. It is expected to start balloting members in the coming weeks, with a result due in June.

‘Best and final offer’

Unlike last time, the RCN is holding a national ballot rather than a series of local workplaces ones. That means it will be harder to get a strike mandate – something dubbed an “all or nothing” approach in one last attempt to get ministers to return to the negotiating table. But Health Secretary Steve Barclay has said the 5% pay offer is the government’s “best and final offer”.

“It’s a substantial increase to pay and something that will make a real difference when everyone is feeling the impact of inflation on their daily lives.” Speaking during the 28-hour walkout that ended at midnight, RCN leader Pat Cullen said the government could not consider the pay dispute resolved without the biggest part of the workforce – nurses – on board. “It has to do better. Only negotiations can resolve this, and I urge ministers to reopen formal discussions with the RCN.”

The health secretary will also be meeting the British Medical Association on Tuesday to see if the two sides can agree a way forward in the junior doctors’ pay dispute. The BMA wants a 35% increase to make up for 15 years of below-inflation wage increases. Junior doctors have held two strikes so far. Mr Barclay has described the pay claim as unaffordable.

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