United Kingdom

Nurses willing to ‘meet halfway’ and could accept 10 percent pay rise

The nursing union could accept the pay rise of around 10 percent and end its ongoing squabble with the Government, a news report has claimed. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) chief said that she is willing to “meet the Government halfway”.

The RCN had earlier demanded for a hike of 19 percent to cover soaring inflation and falls in real-term wages over the past decade.

Sky News claimed that the figure of around 10 percent is correct.

In November, the members of the RCN voted to take industrial action – the first national strike by the union in its 106-year history.

They said low pay was “pushing nursing staff out of the profession and putting patient care at risk”, and called for double-figure wage rises, along with improvements to working conditions.

In his first speech of the year on Wednesday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak praised NHS staff for their work and said “the door is always open” when it comes to negotiations.

But he and Health Secretary Steve Barclay still have not moved on pay.

The Government yesterday announced it would bring in new anti-strike legislation to force unions to set minimum service levels in certain sectors, with the threat of organisations being sued if they do not comply.

Responding to the announcement earlier, Ms Cullen said: “Last month’s action was safe for patients because of detailed discussions we chose to initiate with the NHS to protect emergency services and life-saving care.

“The public respected that and even ministers acknowledged our constructive approach.

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A Department of Health and Social Care spokeswoman said that Mr Barclay “wants to have an honest conversation with the RCN about what is affordable in pay settlements for next year during these challenging times, and is keen to meet for discussions as soon as possible”.

She added: “We have accepted the recommendations of the independent NHS Pay Review Body in full and have given over one million NHS workers a pay rise of at least £1,400 this year.

“This is on top of a 3 percent pay increase last year when public sector pay was frozen and wider government support with the cost of living.”

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