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Largest health union accepts deal

The country's largest health workers' union has voted to accept the government's three-year pay deal.

Unison, which has 500,000 NHS employee members, announced that its members voted in favour of the offer by 64.9%.

The offer, which equates to almost 8% over the next three years, was earlier accepted by the Royal College of Nursing, but some other unions rejected it.

Karen Jennings, the union's head of health said: "The 2.75% on offer this year is the best in the public sector and the three-year deal offers stability. However, we negotiated a reopener clause that we will not hesitate to trigger if inflation continues to rise.

"We know that a number of small health unions have voted against accepting the offer and we will be making it a priority to meet with them and discuss a way forward."

The offer gives 2.75% in the first year, with 2.54% in year two. It also establishes for all NHS staff a new minimum wage of £6.77 an hour. Those on the lowest point will receive an increase of 5.7%.

The third year of the deal gives 2.5%, including a flat rate increase of £420. Nurses, midwives and paramedics on the main grade five and the bottom of grade six will receive extra money on top of the basic increase from the second year, to recognise that more than a quarter have reached their pay ceiling.

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Do you agree with Unison's decision? Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"I believe that one of the reasons there was a yes vote to this year's pay deal was that we had to wait so long for last year's to be settled, and we lost out. I actually voted no on the RCN website quite by chance, I don't visit the site that often. I didn't receive any ballot papers in the post. The official inflation rate stands at just above 3%, my personal rate stands at something around ten times that. The prospect of below inflation pay rise for the next 3 years is not something I am looking forward to. Apart from the usual bills to pay, I have 2 teenagers who will be going to uni in the next 2-3 years. Should I as a specialist nurse in my field and 56-years-old have to be considering taking on some form of second income or a job change just to make ends meet?" - Ian Murray, Cornwall

"No, did not receive an oppportunity to vote (RCN)." - Chris Rumney, Birmingham

"No. As member of the RCN I never received ballot papers. I fear nurses will not be able to afford to stay in the NHS with the current deal." - Alethea Hastings, Suffolk

"No! Would MPs accept this kind of pay increase and they are always after money for expenses. Why do we not deserve a pay rise which at least matches the rate of inflation otherwise we are not getting a rise at all. The government wants more out of nurses for less and less - with clinical nurse specialist paid a band 6 in my Trust!" - Helen Chapman, Southend Hospital

"NO. I haven't received my ballot peper yet. Still waiting. And it will have a big fat no on it. Any other job with equal responsibility has a much greater starting salary. We need to put that right first. Nurses' pay is not the reason for inflation, the massive hike in petrol prices has far more to do with it. The government should be honest and stop trying to take us for a ride." - Name and address supplied

"No, yet again sold out. Inflation means all costs up. Petrol prices continue rising, community staff have had no fuel increase for years and reimbursed at the end of the month. As we work a month before claiming we are owed money for two months petrol by we are reimbursed." - P Goldsmith, Derwentside

"I voted no to this pay deal by Unison but have not voted with the RCN. But we have apparently accepted this farce of a deal. Sold out yet again." - Jackie Glenister, Bedfordshire
"I am sick and tired of being sold out by unions. It is not a pay reward as it does not even cover inflation of my household bills yet alone petrol for my car." - Chris Forest-Potter, Leicester

"Not at all. Like other colleagues nationally, I too would be interested to see who voted for this pay deal." - Nuala Christie, Perth Scotland

"I totally disagree. I know of a number of members who didn't recieve ballot papers, and like the person below I don't know anyone that did accept the offer. All of my colleagues voted NO! Sailed up the swanny again." - Name and address supplied

"I don't know anyone in Unison who voted to accept the offer, and from RCN member responses I have seen it appears to have been unanimously turned down. The question seems to be who DID vote to accept. I feel I've voted in another dimension somewhere. According to the results, surely I would have
heard one of the supporting voices somewhere. I'm left with overwhelming disbelief at the result." - Name and address supplied