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Unite says "no" to multiyear NHS pay deal

Unite, the third largest union in the NHS, has rejected the proposed three-year NHS pay deal and wants further pay talks with the government and NHS employers.

Unite (Amicus section) Health Sector National Committee (HSNC), which met on Tuesday, unanimously rejected the three-year deal, worth 7.999%.

The HSNC wants further negotiations, taking into account the very real inflationary trends in the economy, such as increased mortgage payments and spiralling utility costs.

Unite also wishes to defend and strengthen the independence of the Pay Review Body (PRB) to arbitrate pay on an annual basis. The PRB recommended a 2.75% pay award  for this year, 2008/9.

The three-year pay deal is being heavily promoted by the government and NHS Chief Executive, David Nicholson, who has warned that this year's award could be staged, if unions don't accept the three-year pay package.

Unite Head of Health, Kevin Coyne said today: "We can't be tied to a three-year deal, given the future uncertainties in the economy and the inflationary pressures that our hard-working members are experiencing on a daily basis."

Unite (TGWU section), which represents 12,000 ancillary and ambulance members, has already recommended that its members reject the three-year deal.

The rejection of the multiyear settlement from both sections of Unite, follows the warning from David Nicholson who said that ministers could impose a staged pay-award this year, if the NHS unions don't fall in behind the three-year pay deal.

He said: "The government reserves the right to review its response to the NHS PRB (Pay Review Body) recommendations and decide whether to accept, stage or abate them in the context of a one year settlement."

Kevin Coyne has already stated that last year's 2.5% staged award in England - while NHS colleagues in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland received the full amount from
1 April - created "an atmosphere of seething and simmering resentment that must not be repeated".

What do you think of the multiyear pay deal? Are NHS nurses being shortchanged?

Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"Teachers are striking for more pay and they earn far more than most nurses, with greater priviledges (13 weeks holiday), protected meal breaks and no shift work. I know they like to think themselves above us as mere nurses, but we have similar qualifications (ie, degrees) and an equal responsibility; ours very often more so. Successive governments have neglected the nursing workforce and taken advantage of our general altruism, but the time has come for nurses to start thinking of themselves and their own families now. This so called 'Labour' government should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves; they are more interested in the private corporations and the rich and are investing comparatively little in the wellbeing of one of their greatest work forces. It is about time that nurses stood shoulder to shoulder to let them know how we feel. The nursing unions are weak and are uninterested in the day to day problems of the very stressed nurse and ALWAYS give in to the government - hardly surprising when you see how much they earn from our subscriptions. I urge all nurses to join a proper union such as Unite, Unison or the GMB who will happily campaign on our behalf. Things will NEVER get any better whilst the nursing bodies stand back and wring their hands mumbling that they are 'negotiating'. Their 'negotiations' have continually kept us poorly paid. Hitting the government's target-driven culture by working to rule (by covering emergency work only) is the only way to hit them where it hurts. It is about time we considered going on strike!" - A very angry nurse who will never be able to afford her own home

"I think the dramatic increase in the cost of daily living over the past year is affecting all of us in our pockets. As a district nurse I feel that our costs with regard to essential car users and petrol in particular need also to be reviewed on an annual basis as well. I noted this week when the NUT took industrial action that we are still behind teachers and police officers in our annual average wage. So I think that the pay review should be an annual event to take in to account the current economical demands that are hitting us all whatever pay band you are on." - Jenny Cook, South East

"Pay deals. It is an absolute no way to multiyear pay deals
with such volatile economy. I think it is the government's fault because they control the economy; and the fact is, they do not control the economy, because when they say that inflation is  up 2.5% then the cost of living should go up by such %, yet utilities prices are rising above inflation. But we cannot do anything because the government is the government, and we did vote for them; SORRY to say but it is the truth." - Ronny, London

"A nurse is entitled to be paid for her worth delivery of service benefits to patients and community health contribution. Give to nurses the financial rewards deserving of so great a profession." - V Henry, London