Unite has strongly condemned the government's "implied threat" to stage the 2008/9 NHS pay award if unions don't back the three-year pay offer.
In the wake of initial opposition to the three-year pay deal NHS Chief Executive David Nicholson said that if the proposed agreement is not accepted: "The government reserves the right to review its response to the NHS Pay Review Body recommendations and decide whether to accept, stage or abate them in the context of a one year settlement."
Unite is concerned about signing up to a three-year pay deal due to inflationary pressure in the economy such as increased mortgage payments and utility costs.
Unite Head of Health Kevin Coyne said: "David Nicholson's letter is a clear threat to NHS staff to accept a below inflation three-year pay deal or face the consequences.
"The government is making a mistake if it think it can tie our members to an effective three-ear pay cut and threaten to penalise them by staging this year's pay award if they don't accept it.
"The government needs to understand that it must work with our members and try to meet their very reasonable expectations, not undervalue and attempt to bully and intimidate them."
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What do you think the government is indulging in scare tactics?
"Yes it's time to unite and act." - Jeanette Clark
"I feel that implied threats are not acceptable, but this action may provide the emphasis for professional groups to actually agree on joint action. It is probably time we utilised our potential strength, particularly in view of the way in which our disposable incomes is being reduced each year." - Ian Moore, Dudley