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Unions in talks with health secretary over pay

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Unions in talks with Hunt Unions in talks with Hunt

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt is in talks with unions over the issue of the NHS pay freeze.

The talks began on 21 January with a view to avoiding the planned walkout of NHS staff on 29 January. However, the health secretary and the unions have been unable to reach a compromise on the issue so far.

UNISON head of health Christina McAnea said: 'NHS trade unions will continue to talk with the department. The industrial action planned for next week will go ahead unless a fair pay deal for NHS workers can be reached.'

Other unions in attendance at the talks included Unite and the RCM. The unions have announced that they will conduct a 12-hour strike on 29 January, followed by working to rule until 24 February. Unless a deal over pay has been reached, there will then be a 24-hour strike on 25 February.

Jon Skewes, the RCM's lead negotiator, said: 'We welcome holding negotiations for the first time since RCM members commenced industrial action for the first time in our 133 year history. Nevertheless, at this stage we are still in dispute and RCM members in England will be taking further industrial action starting 29 January.'

The GMB have said that the talks have been adjourned today and will resume on 26 January at 2pm. Rehana Azam, GMB national officer, said: 'We are pleased we are still in the talks. We are making every effort to get a tangible offer on the table to take back to our members to avert the strike next week.'

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