NHS staff vote for 6.5% pay deal

Nurses have voted'overwhelmingly to accept the NHS pay deal

Now, though, it's been announced that members of 13 unions have reached a deal with NHS secretary Jeremy Hunt that will see a pay rise for more than a million NHS workers.

The Treasury has committed to fully fund the deal for the next three years with an extra £4.2bn and pledged to match this funding level in the three other countries of the UK.

The offer is separately funded and so will not be financed from existing NHS budgets, avoiding extra strain on patient services.

Among many other things, what that meant in real terms was a pay freeze across all government jobs, so that salaries wouldn't rise in line with inflation - effectively meaning that although NHS staff and the like would be earning the same amount of money, it would be worth less as prices went up because of inflation.

Hospital caterers, porters, administrators and other staff on the lowest grades will receive a wage rise of more than £2,000 this year - an 11%-13% increase.

The pay offer was initially proposed in March and focused on the lowest paid workers on NHS Agenda for Change contracts.

She said: 'By standing together, the NHS unions were able to reject all unpalatable demands to cut annual leave or unsocial hours payments and get the best possible deal from a Government still committed to austerity'.

The chair of the RCN College Trade Union Committee, which was in favour of the deal, added: "We don't see this decision as the end of our fight for fair pay, but rather a good first step".

In Scotland and Wales, pay negotiations are subsequently underway but the absence of government in Northern Ireland means the increase will be delayed.

Officials from the union will meet next week to figure out what they do next.

Claire Sullivan, of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said: "This agreement gives NHS staff in England long overdue recognition of the enormous contribution they have made in recent years under huge pressure".

RCN members were given a six-week online vote, which closed on Tuesday and saw three in four members back the pay offer.

Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: 'This is an incredibly well-deserved pay rise for staff who have never worked harder. Employees who are now paid below the top of their existing pay band will be entitled to receive pay increases of between 9-29% over the three-year period.

"I hope this will also go some way to helping us recruit and retain more brilliant staff in our NHS".

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