One of the largest trade unions for NHS workers have accepted the government’s pay offer after a lengthy dispute. Members voted to accept an offer which covers two pay years – with a one-off lump sum for 2022/23, and a 5 percent wage rise for 2023/34 – which rises to 10.4 percent for the lowest paid.
The vote was a decisive victory in favour of accepting the pay deal, with 74 percent of members voting for it, at Unison’s recommendation.
There was a turnout of 53 percent for the vote in a ballot of 288,000 NHS workers across England.
The wage rise for next year is worth at least £1,065 and would raise the lowest hourly rate in the NHS in England to £11.45 an hour, or £22,383 a year, the union said.
Unison added the one-off payment is worth between £1,655 and £3,789.
This is equivalent to 8.2 percent for the lowest paid and around 6 percent for nurses, midwives and others in the band 5 pay bracket.
Union bosses have been locked in an ongoing dispute with the government demanding better pay for NHS workers who have seen substantial real-term pay cuts in the last decade.
The Royal College Nursing (RCN) have said they will announce how its members in England voted on the deal later today.
However, unconfirmed reports suggest the RCN are poised to reject the offer.
In any case, the latest Unison development does not yet signal the end to strikes, as junior doctors are still in the middle of a four-day-walkout that ends tomorrow at 7am as part of the British Medical Association’s dispute with No10.
Unison’s head of health Sara Gorton said: “Clearly health workers would have wanted more, but this was the best that could be achieved through negotiation.
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“Over the past few weeks, health workers have weighed up what’s on offer. They’ve opted for the certainty of getting the extra cash in their pockets soon.
“It’s a pity it took several months of strike action before the government would commit to talks. Unions told ministers last summer the £1,400 pay rise wasn’t enough to stop staff leaving the NHS, nor to prevent strikes. But they didn’t want to listen.
“Instead, health workers were forced to strike, losing money they could ill afford. The NHS and its patients suffered months of unnecessary disruption.”
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