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Majority of nurses will not receive cost of living pay increase

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Nurses in between pay bands on Agenda for Change will not receive the one per cent ‘living cost' pay rise that has been promised to healthcare professionals at the top of their pay bands.

Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, announced that NHS workers at the top of their pay band in Agenda for Change will receive a one per cent living cost increase. However this will not apply to those who are eligible for an incremental pay increase within pay bands, following a positive appraisal. This means that around 600,000 nurses will not be receiving the one per cent increase from 1 April 2014.

The government published the NHS Pay Review Body report yesterday morning and its response, which was issued by the Treasury.

Unions and professional bodies representing healthcare workers have threatened industrial action, labelling the move ‘devaluing' and ‘demoralising' to nurses.

The RCN's head of employment relations, Josie Irwin, said that the Government is spinning this announcement to make it seem as though all NHS workers will benefit. ‘Practice nurses are usually at bands 6 and 7. The practice nurses on the top of their pay bands will receive the one per cent increase; however, this is too little for them. For those that are in the pay scale, not all GPs do award the pay increments, following positive appraisals. So the majority will not get a pay increase at all.

‘The pay award does not affect those nurses that are employed by local government such as school nurses, as their pay is decided at a local level.

‘The RCN Council is meeting next week to discuss this and are aiming to reverse the proposal.'

Unite head of health, Rachel Maskell, said: ‘Jeremy Hunt has adopted a divide-and-rule tactic, which calls into serious question the relevance of the so-called independent Pay Review Body.

‘He is deliberately muddying the waters by trying to imply that the annual increments that staff receive, as they gain more skills to benefit patients throughout their careers, is part of the annual pay increase - it is not. It is despicable that Hunt has adopted such an underhand tactic.'

In his response to the Pay Review Body, Mr Hunt said that ministers would be willing to negotiate with union leaders on the one per cent if the incremental pay increases in Agenda for Change were frozen for the next two years.

All health workers in Scotland will receive the one per cent increase next year, with extra money for staff earning below £21,000 to ensure that they their pay increases by £300.

After a consultation with its members, Unite has said that it would be willing to engage in talks to negotiate with Mr Hunt if they were ‘meaningful'.

To read Mr Hunt's full response to the NHS Pay Review Body's report visit: http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-vote-office/March_2014/13%20March/11.HEALTH-NHS-Pay-Review-Body.pdf

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