On Monday, Rishi Sunak declined to confirm or deny whether the government was considering a one-time payment, but he stressed that the most crucial thing is that “talks are happening.”
The concept of providing nurses with a single payment to cover the rising cost of living for current fiscal year, which ends in April, was floated by Steve Barclay, the health secretary, about six weeks ago, but it was rejected by Downing Street and the Treasury, according to a source.
No. 10 is reportedly warming up to the idea as nurses get ready for strike action on January 18 and 19, after leaving for the first time before Christmas.
The Royal College of Nursing has stated that if the government could achieve their demands, they would accept a wage increase of roughly 10% rather than their initial demand of 19%.
The union threatened to end its strike if the government brought up salary for this financial year, but ministers claim it has already been determined and they only want to discuss pay for the following year.
Patricia Marquis, director of RCN England, said, We’ll be keen to hear what Steve Barclay has to say, of course. But regrettably, this won’t end the conflict we now have with the government unless we can have a discussion regarding this year’s wage award.
Today’s meeting between health union leaders and the health secretary to discuss pay and conditions marks a significant victory for employees after the government first claimed that independent pay review bodies, not ministers, should be the ones to negotiate wages.
Ahead of upcoming strikes by those industries, the government is also meeting with union officials from the railroad and teaching professions.
If union wage negotiations are “based on what’s affordable, what’s responsible, and what is appropriate,” the government’s door “is always open,” according to Mr. Sunak.
Although it is unlikely that any of the unions would reach an agreement today, the mere fact that they are meeting is a significant first step.
Junior doctors, or any physician who is not a consultant, have begun voting today on whether to stage a “full walkout” in March. A decision is anticipated by the end of February.
According to the BMA, junior doctors in England have witnessed real-term wage decreases over the last 15 years, totaling a 26.1% pay decrease since 2008/2009.
A ballot for about 45,000 British Medical Association (BMA) members is being conducted as they want greater compensation after being denied a pay increase by the NHS this year because their contracts are governed by multi-pay agreements that expire in March and guaranteed them a 2% pay increase for 2022–2023.
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