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Strikes considered as NHS workers unhappy about missing out on pay rise

By EchoLauraC  |  Posted: March 14, 2014

Gloucestershire Royal Hospital

Comments (5)

Unions are threatening strike action as 600,000 NHS workers will be losing out on a pay rise.

The government announced a basic one per cent wage increase for members of the armed forces, prison officers and judges.

But health service unions are considering industrial action as thousands of nurses and other staff will not be getting the further rise.

The Department of Health announcement means those who automatically receive progression-in-job increases to their pay will not get the salary boost.

It is unclear exactly how many workers in Gloucestershire will be affected by the move.

But it is believed more than 1,500 nurses and around 2,500 other workers, running Gloucestershire Royal and Cheltenham General hospital, could miss out on the extra cash.

Around 7,500 people are employed at the county’s two main hospitals, including 2,182 nurses.

It is estimated that around 70 per cent of nurses and 55 per cent of other workers will be missing out on the pay hike.

The annual progression-in-job increment, which amounts to around three per cent, is given as workers gain more skills.

One of the county’s nurses, who did not wish to be named, said: “It seems crazy that we are told we are getting more money because we are learning and developing new skills.

“But then they use that against us and as a reason not to give us this basic salary rise.”

The Royal College of Nursing has been angered by the decision, particularly as it has ignored a recommendation from the NHS Pay Review Body.

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the RCN, said: “To suggest that incremental pay is the same as a pay uplift, or that NHS staff are simply being rewarded for time served is to either deliberately mislead or to fundamentally misunderstand how NHS pay works.

“Incremental pay is used in the private and public sectors and is only awarded to NHS staff when they can demonstrate that they have developed their skills.”

Union Unite is consulting its members on possible industrial action as it believes that around 55 per cent of the NHS workforce will lose out from April 1.

Unite head of health Rachael Maskell, said: “Jeremy Hunt (the Heath Secretary) has adopted a divide and rule tactic.

“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.

“Our members are being hit by the escalating cost of living crisis – their pay packets are shrinking year by year.

Rehana Azam, GMB national officer, added: “GMB members will be outraged with Government isolating NHS workers like this.

“They are attacking not only living standards but also the agreed way pay is set in the NHS. This makes a ballot for industrial action all the more likely.”

Unison’s head of health, Christina McAnea, said: “It’s a disgrace that 70 per cent of nurses and midwives will not even get a pay rise this year – what sort of message does this give to the value this Government places on dedicated NHS staff?”

But David Cameron defended the decision. The Prime Minister said: “It is right to make difficult decisions about public sector pay. It is good that it is increasing and not frozen.

“But it is right to take these difficult decisions because it means that we can keep more people employed, more people in work, we can make sure we spend money on vital treatments, on hospitals, on delivering services which is what patients so badly want.”

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  • SylviaLFulbri  |  March 15 2014, 3:49PM

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  • supernova1  |  March 15 2014, 1:22PM

    'progression-in-job increases' are typically 3%, so what's the beef? 3% is more than I got....by 3%! Google 'rogression-in-job increases' and you will come across a graph that shows that public sector salaries are STILL way higher than private sector. This gravy train MUST be derailed NOW!

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  • tishwash  |  March 14 2014, 4:52PM

    Money is not endless, it needs to come from somewhere but.... "The Department of Health announcement means those who automatically receive progression-in-job increases to their pay will not get the salary boost." ..... why should they ? others don't ?

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  • Lecorche  |  March 14 2014, 3:34PM

    It's now well past time that this government of ours cut something else. Their own throats!

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  • nickthompson  |  March 14 2014, 12:52PM

    Great, the very people we rely on the most get a 1% pay increase, with inflation running at 2% this means PAY CUTS in OUR NHS, and to be told of a cut in pay by a multi millionaire must stick in their throats, of course pay restraint dosen't apply by the likes of this guy, and thousands of other's in the ruling class: "Wandsworth's Tory council chief executive Paul Martin has been handed a £20,000 pay rise year on year, getting £230,440 in pay and bonuses. Figures published in the local authority's annual report also show £43,784 in pension contributions received by Mr Martin in 2012/13 - bringing his total remuneration package to more than £274,000" COME THE REVOLUTION.

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