NHS management are split on the hard line taken by the union Unite over the proposed multiyear pay deal.
Unite has rejected the proposed three-year NHS pay deal and is calling for further pay talks with the government and NHS employers.
Unite Head of Health Kevin Coyne said: "This apparent confusion in the management position has come about as a result of indirect political tampering with the decision of the independent Pay Review Body (PRB) which recommended a 2.75% pay award for this year, 2008/9."
But NHS Chief Executive David Nicholson argued: "The government reserves the right to review its reponse to the NHS PRB recommendations and decide whether to accept, stage or abate them in the context of a one year settlement."
NHS Executive Alastair Henderson was more moderate in his statements, saying: "In a spirit of partnership we would urge all the NHS trade unions involved to proceed to some form of consultation on the proposed three year settlement. "
Kevin Coyne says the NHS is playing at the "classic 'hard cop, soft cop' routine."
He concludes: "The logic is that we should now go back to the negotiating table and come up with a settlement that we can offer to our members that truly reflects the very real inflationary pressures in the economy, such as increased mortgage, food and utility bills."
"I do not know who Jamie is but I think he needs to live in the real world and this is not just about pay. It gives a good facilities agreement that many staff do not have. It's looked at band 5 and made changes and will look at 6 & 7 and help the lower bands. I disgree about the comment are people leaving the RCN we have more joining the RCN." – Sylvia Taylor, UK
"Absolutely not. At least Unison is balloting members, and feedback I get is that members are not happy. But still regret Unison even tolerating offer. And RCN should be ashamed advising members to accept, suspect many members will be moving to a Union which seems to have more respect for their worth and will help them fight for it." - Janis, UK
"Hopefully not, as a member of the weak willed RCN we need a strong union to stand up for it's members, even if it's not our own." - Jamie, UK