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Tomorrow’s NHS strike called off

Unions suspends planned industrial action following a pay proposal put forward by the government

Ingrid Torjesen

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Planned strikes tomorrow by health workers in England and Northern Ireland over pay have been suspended after the Government offered to increase the pay of most NHS staff pay by one per cent.

Members of UNISON, the GMB and Unite were due to strike on Thursday and again next month in protest at the Government's refusal to accept the Pay Review Body’s recommended one per cent wage rise for all NHS staff.

Under the revised Government offer, all NHS workers up to Band 8b would get a one per cent pay rise in 2015-16. Staff above that grade would see their pay frozen. In addition, the lowest paid staff would receive an extra £200, and minimum pay levels would rise from £14,294 to £15,100 - an increase of almost six per cent.

UNISON head of health and the unions' lead negotiator, Christina McAnea said: "The two strike days staged by health workers last year have moved the government to negotiate with the unions.

“The proposals deliver pay rises of between 5.6 and 2.2 per cent for more than 250,000 of the lowest paid in the NHS.

"Whilst this isn't a great offer, it addresses some of the key concerns unions have about low pay in the NHS. In the interest of patients' safety, unions will now consult members.”

Other unions, which were not set to strike tomorrow, also welcomed the proposals. Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the RCN said: “The RCN has been campaigning and lobbying for fair pay alongside the other health trade unions.

“This decision goes some way to alleviate the concerns of staff by honouring the independent pay review body’s recommendation for a 1% consolidated rise and helping some of the lowest paid NHS staff.”

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of the NHS Employers, said: “We are delighted that the strike has been called off. It is the right decision for patients and puts us all in a better position to start talking about long-term solutions.

“If the unions proceed to fully accept the proposed pay agreement it will demonstrate a commitment and signal the start of a period of negotiations to deliver long-term pay reform in the NHS. This needs to ensure that the pay system helps the NHS to provide better, safer and more responsive services to patients and lead to a more efficient use of NHS resources.”

Union members will vote on the new proposals. "If they choose to reject them we will move to further industrial action," Ms McAnea said.

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