NHS Unison members accept government pay offer in England

Nurses, ambulance crews and other NHS workers who are members of Unison have decisively voted to accept the government pay offer.

After a ballot today, the union confirmed that members voted to accept the deal that includes a 5% pay rise for this year worth at least £1,065.

Unison members, including 999 call handlers, midwives, cleaners and security, will also pocket a bonus one-off cash payment of 2% for last year.

This lump sum could be between £1,655 and £3,789 depending on the pay band.

This is all on top of the £1,400 NHS staff received for 2022/23 last September. 

The turnout was 52% among Unison’s 288,000 members up and down England, with 74% backing the deal that settles the months-long dispute.

Nurses, ambulance staffers and other NHS workers have braved bitter winter weather to picket for a pay increase and better working conditions.

They say that both will make working at the NHS more attractive and help ease chronic staff shortages exacerbated by a decade of Tory government cuts.

The cost-of-living crisis – which has seen inflation swell to double-digits for months – has only added to NHS workers’ already long list of woes.

Unison members backing the deal will likely bring an end to ambulance strikes taking place in London, as all the capital city’s paramedics belong to the union.

Unison health head Sara Gorton said: ‘Clearly health workers would have wanted more, but this was the best that could be achieved through negotiation.

‘Over the past few weeks, health workers have weighed up what’s on offer. They’ve opted for the certainty of getting the extra cash in their pockets soon.

‘It’s a pity it took several months of strike action before the government would commit to talks.

‘Unions told ministers last summer the £1,400 pay rise wasn’t enough to stop staff leaving the NHS, nor to prevent strikes. But they didn’t want to listen.

‘Instead, health workers were forced to strike, losing money they could ill afford. The NHS and its patients suffered months of unnecessary disruption.’

The largest nurses union in the UK, the Royal College of Nursing, will reveal how its members in England voted on the same deal later today.

If the RCN turns down the government’s pay deal, this would mean some health unions have accepted the deal while others haven’t.

‘Lessons must also be learned. The mistakes of the past few months cannot be repeated,’ added Gorton.

‘It’s time for a whole new approach to setting pay across the NHS.’

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