Nursing union the Royal College of Nursing, along with other NHS staff unions, have welcomed the agreement on NHS pay reached this week.
The Royal College of Nursing is to urge its members to accept the new payment terms agreed with the government this week, which they say represent “the best pay deal in eight years” for NHS workers.
The proposed agreement will see wage rises of between 6.5% and 29% over the next three years, and is hoped to reverse the recent NHS staffing problems by helping to retain experienced nurses and attract new ones.
NHS Employers revealed that the proposed agreement, which was reached following months of negotiation, will see the lowest earning NHS workers like cleaners, porters and caterers receive a substantial pay increase due to the pay band reform. Their basic rate of pay will go up by 15% over the next three years, and the lowest full-time pay rate will increase by more than £2,000 to £17,460 per year – a move that will benefit over 100,000 NHS workers.
The government will provide additional money to fund the increases salaries, rather than it coming out of existing NHS budgets.
The RCN Trade Union Committee – which is made up of elected members from all UK regions – has endorsed the deal. Chair of the committe Lors Allford said:
This is the best pay deal in eight years from a Government that is still committed to austerity. Failure to accept it will put us back at square one, and at risk of returning to the 1% pay rises we’ve fought so hard to overturn.
This is our chance to lock in a pay deal for three years, that not only guarantees our members will get more money, but simplifies the pay structure so that they get recognised for their increasing skill and experience quicker. It provides certainty at a time of great political and economic uncertainty and I urge our members to accept it.
NHS Employers chief executive Danny Mortimer said:
This deal will benefit more than a million health staff in England. To support long-term attraction and recruitment, starting salaries for all our non-medical staff groups will also see increases, which will help to make these roles more attractive for people considering a career in the largest employer in Europe.
It will also ensure that existing staff receive deserved increases to pay, which will assist our work to value and retain these vital colleagues.