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Nurses could still strike after 3% pay rise, say unions



Unions have vowed to consult members on whether to strike after the Government announced the 3% pay rise for NHS staff yesterday evening.  

Although it is more than the 1% the Government originally proposed, the RCN said it amounts to a pay cut with the Treasury estimating inflation will be up to 3.7% next year.  

Pat Cullen, RCN interim general secretary and chief executive, promised ‘the profession will not take this lying down’.  

‘We will be consulting our members on what action they would like to take next.’ The RCN has been calling for a 12.5% uplift.

She also called the announcement ‘shambolic’ after care minister Helen Whately failed to mention the pay rise in House of Commons earlier in the day.  

Ms Whately was widely expected to tell MPs about the 3% Agenda for Pay rise in the Commons but was lambasted after she continually repeated the NHS pay review bodies evidence was being reviewed and an announcement would made ‘in due course’.

The minister mainly spoke about the launch of a strategy to help autistic people live more independently in her speech only for the Department of Health and Social Care to make the announcement about four hours later.  

The GMB union said it was consulting its members on the pay offer and would recommend they say ‘no’ to accepting it.  

Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary, said: ‘After ten years of pay cuts, a pandemic that saw NHS staff put all their lives at risk and now a pay offer from the Government that amounts to taking yet more cash from their pockets – it’s no wonder moral among NHS workers is rock bottom.’  

Unite said it was also consulting health members on the next steps ‘with a range of options on the table, including a consultative ballot for industrial action with the option to strike’.  

Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe, Unite’s national officer for health, said the 3% was ‘grossly inadequate and underwhelming’.  

The Times has reported the 3% will come from an increase in national insurance that is reportedly to pay for overhauling social care.  The long-awaited reforms to ‘fix’ social care have now been pushed to the Autumn. 

Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid said on Twitter yesterday the review bodies’ recommendations had been accepted in full:  

He received the NHS Review Body’s recommendation at the end of last month. The Government also had evidence from the Review Body for Doctors’ and Dentists’ Renumeration (DDRB). 

The pay rise will be backdated to April 2021. Agenda for Pay rises are reviewed every three years.  

The Scottish Government agreed at least a 4% pay rise for NHS nurses in Scotland in May despite the RCN and the GMB rejecting the offer, instead pushing for 12.5% and 15% uplifts respectively. 

However, seven other unions accepted the Scottish deal – Unison, Unite, the Royal College of Midwives, the College of Podiatrists, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, the Society of Radiographers and the British Dietetic Association.