Most staff representatives in England support the NHS pay deal

After being accepted by a majority, the UK government will implement the pay deal for NHS England employees despite the continued opposition of the main nursing union.

On Tuesday, several NHS unions voted to accept the offer of the government. This will give staff a one-off payment worth up to £3,789 in 2022-23 as well as a 5% wage increase in 2023-24.

Steve Barclay, the Health Secretary, said that the NHS Staff Council vote, which brings together unions, employers and the government, shows that “a majority of NHS employees agree that this is a reasonable and fair deal”.

He called on members of the unions who had refused to accept his offer to “recognise that this is a fair result”. . . “It is time to put an end to industrial action”.

The vote is seen by ministers as an important step in resolving the pay disputes which have caused strikes to occur across the public sector during the last year. This has added to the strain on the health services and schools, disrupted travel, and increased the administrative backlogs following the pandemic.

The government is still far from improving relations with the unions, even those that have agreed to the pay deal. The government faces further strike action by nurses, other NHS workers, and doctors who are locked in separate wage disputes.Sara Gorton is the chair of the unions on the NHS Staff Council. She said that this pay deal was the beginning of a new era for the NHS.

Matthew Taylor, the chief executive of NHS Confederation (which speaks for the health organizations) acknowledged that the implementation of the pay agreement was “very positive”.

Taylor said that it “wasn’t the line in sand” which would allow the NHS to “confidently move on, from the threat or future strikes, and from the underlying problems affecting the NHS”.

Royal College of Nursing must hold a new ballot for extending its six-month strike. The latest action in hospitals in England concluded on Monday.

Pat Cullen wrote to Barclay, RCN’s general secretary on Tuesday, saying that the union will ballot its 280,000 members to seek a mandate to strike “across the entire NHS”, as it was previously able to do so at around half of NHS Trusts and Employers.

Unite, which has NHS members who also voted against the pay deal in their NHS trusts, announced that it would escalate the strikes within the NHS Trusts where it has already been given a mandate. It will also open new ballots for “NHS workers” who wish to make a statement.

Barclay and the British Medical Association met on Tuesday to try to resolve a deadlock regarding junior doctors’ salaries. The BMA’s junior doctors staged a 4-day strike last week. Senior consultants may soon follow their junior colleagues and take action if they do not receive a better offer from the government.

The BMA is also preparing a ballot for general practitioners to vote on possible strike action, after the government implemented new contract terms that the BMA deemed “unsafe” last week.

A government spokesperson stated that the BMA Junior Doctors Committee and the Government held a constructive conversation this afternoon in preparation for discussions aimed at resolving current junior doctor disputes. Both parties will meet in the next few days.

The NHS is not out of the woods just yet, said Julian Hartley. He is chief executive of NHS Providers which represents leaders in health services.

He said that the NHS must see a “firm” commitment from the Government to fully fund the pay deal, as well as a long-term budgeted plan to address chronic understaffing.

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