NHS unions call for renegotiations on pay deal

NHS trade unions today called for the government to renegotiate health service pay.

Unison, Unite and the Royal College of Nursing led the charge as unions submitted evidence to the NHS pay review body.

Nurses and other NHS workers were given a pay deal in April worth 8% over three years.

However, this deal had a reopener clause that allows the independent pay review body to look again at the 2009-10 and 2010-11 rises if it is convinced of “a significant and material change in recruitment and retention and wider economic and labour market conditions”.

The unions believe that soaring inflation and the credit crunch amount to such changes, and say health service workers deserve more money.

Karen Jennings, head of health at Unison, and the joint union staff side chair, said: “Hardworking staff across the NHS accepted a three-year pay deal six months ago believing government and economic predictions that inflation had peaked and would start to fall.

“This clearly hasn’t happened. No-one then could have predicted the worldwide credit crunch or that inflation would hit a 16-year high.

“The NHS needs to be an attractive career option and that means paying workers decently. The re-opener clause was intended to be a safety net for NHS staff they need that safety net now.”

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