Union slams Government over NHS pay

Union leaders have launched a fresh attack against the Government after discovering that a pay review body for the NHS has been told not to make any recommendations for next year.

NHS staff belonging to Unison are being balloted for industrial action over pay
NHS staff belonging to Unison are being balloted for industrial action over pay

Several unions are currently balloting workers for industrial action after the coalition refused to accept a recommended 1% increase for all health workers for this year.

Unison said the Government had now written to the pay review body saying it was not required to report or make recommendations for the 2015/2016 year on pay for health staff in England, the recruitment, retention and motivation of suitably able and qualified staff or on regional variations in labour markets.

A letter from health minister Dan Poulter to Jerry Cope, who chairs the review body - seen by Unison - asks it to make observations on "affordable out of hours working arrangements", with regard to developments in other sectors which provide seven-day services.

Unison said it feared this meant an attack on extra pay for unsocial hours.

National officer Christina McAnea said: "This is an extremely provocative move. It's clear the Government wants to get seven-day services on the cheap by getting more staff to work unsocial hours, but not paying them for it.

"This would be taking money away from hard-working staff such as midwives and nurses who currently provide round the clock care.

"Yet again this is an example of the Government undermining the quality of care in the NHS with potentially disastrous impact on patient care.

"If anything, this is likely to encourage more NHS workers to vote yes for strike action in England in our current ballot. Is that what the Government really wants?"