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Sacrifice a day’s leave for minor pay rise, says government

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Talks between the Treasury, DHSC, unions and health bodies are 'on-going'

NHS leaders, health unions and the government are close to reaching an agreement for a three-year pay deal for staff in England, leaked documents have revealed.

The agreement, however, is thought to be conditional on staff giving up a day’s holiday in return, with the government insisting this is deal-breaker in the negotiations.

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it did not comment on leaks but that negotiations were ‘on-going’. If true, and the talks prove successful, this could mean the first real rise in pay for NHS since 2010.

According to the documents obtained by the Guardian, the Treasury and the DHSC are offering around 1 million NHS staff a 6.5% pay rise over the next three years in a deal worth £3.3 billion.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said: ‘The RCN has been part of pay talks alongside all NHS unions. They are on-going and have not concluded. Once there is agreement in principle - and the Treasury commits to fully fund it - our members will decide if any deal is acceptable.’

Although any increase in pay will surely be welcomed by NHS staff, there are concerns about whether the increase is sufficient. Particularly when the effect of inflation, which has caused staff’s pay to fall in real terms over the past 7 years, is factored in.

Nigel Edwards, chief executive of the health think tank Nuffield Trust, told Independent Nurse: ‘This would not be a major increase in pay. With inflation forecast at two to three percent in the coming years, a settlement like this would actually mean wages flat-lining in terms of what staff can actually buy.

‘What’s more, if proposals did include the loss of a day’s annual leave, this could effectively be a pay cut of around 0.4%.’

The plans include a 3% increase in the pay of all non-medical NHS staff in England in 2018-19, with rises of between 1-2% in the following two years. The rise would affect nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants, but exclude doctors and dentists, who are paid through a different system.

Any deal would need to be ratified by both union members and ministers, with a potential sticking-point being the government’s demand for staff to forfeit a day’s leave in return.

Responding to the reports, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) said 'there is a possible agreement on pay in sight' but regretted the timing of the leak, saying it 'is unfortunate because it puts out an incomplete and unfinalised picture of what is being discussed and where we are in these negotiations with the Government. It does not help to speculate on rumour and whispers in corridors.

'It is important now that the RCM, our colleagues in the other health unions, and the Government focus on settling this pay deal, and when we know what the full and final offer is, take that to our members in the NHS. I hope that we can all make that announcement soon.'

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

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I hope the NMC dont sell us out again the Holidays were part of a pay negotiation years ago. we need a real pay rise not a minus figure. no wonder so many people are leaving the NHS.
Posted by: ,
Is it just NHS staff that have to sacrifice a days annual leave for a payrise, I bet the politicians don't!!!
Posted by: ,
Still robbing us... why do we have to sacrifice anything ? Haven't we done our bit?. It's about time our government looked after us for a change, no wonder we have no staff in the NHS. It would appear the government wants the NHS to fail to enable them to privatise the whole system, then say it's not their fault!! Watch this space ....
Posted by: ,
I am shocked that to get a pay rise we are supposed to sacrifice a days annual leave. What sort of deal is that? It does not happen in other companies and why should we accept it; give with one hand and take back with the other. All talk about how well respected the NHS staff are, what difficult circumstances they work in, how they go out and beyond the call of duty etc etc then throw that slap in the face into the mix. Show respect for us or you will lose us and then have to pick up the agency bills. The horse is already bolting out the door.....
Posted by: ,
Tell the government to stick their pathetic offer!!! Healthcare staff should not have to forfeit any holidays, we should be given a decent rise that reflects our hard work and dedication!!!
Posted by: ,
Does anybody else have to sacrifice a day to get an increase in pay. Our days off keep us safe to practice. Disgusting.
Posted by: ,
The Government don't realise if forced to give up annual leave sick leave will increase. I for one would tell the government to stick it!
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