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Nurses' fury over new pay clampdown

Nurses are said to be "furious" over the government's latest plans to limit the pay of health workers, it has been revealed.

The controversial proposals would see nurses' annual pay increments halted on top of the already agreed two-year pay freeze.

The government said in return health staff would be given a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies, although nurse leaders have already questioned whether this is a false promise.

Royal College of Nursing General Secretary, Peter Carter, described the proposals as an "unwarranted attack" on hardworking nurses, adding: "Asking staff to give up their increments when in return only some will have a guarantee of no compulsory redundancy is, frankly, just not on.

"We are also highly sceptical that the employers would be able to deliver their part of the bargain with job security. After all, the RCN's Frontline First campaign has already identified 27,000 jobs earmarked to go in the NHS.

"The proposals also coincide with the increase in VAT and continuing anger about bankers' bonuses. Nurses and healthcare assistants did not argue against the two-year pay freeze announced last year as they accepted the argument that we're all in it together.

"However, there isn't much 'together' about it and nurses feel they are being punished for an economic problem that is not of their making.

"The RCN is rejecting these proposals after hearing from nursing staff up and down the country who are furious with the plans."

The RCN said increments rewarded skills and experience gained by staff every year they were in the job and helped recruit and retain staff.

Unison also rejected the extra freeze on pay earlier this week, saying it believed the funding gap in the NHS was so great that its members were sceptical that NHS Trusts would abide by a "no compulsory redundancy" agreement for two years.

Just over a million health workers in England earning up to £34,189 are being asked to give up their annual increments, on top of an existing two-year pay freeze.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

Royal College of Nursing