Anger As Thousands Of Nurses Denied 1% Rise
Hundreds of thousands of health workers will miss out on a 1% public sector pay rise as part of the Government wage award package.
The Government has announced a 1% pay rise for public sector workers, including nurses, soldiers and civil servants.
However, it has withheld the rise from 600,000 health workers who already receive a "progression pay increase", which is a fixed annual average rise of 3% to reflect growing experience.
Unions claimed this was around 70% of nurses and midwives and 60% of NHS staff and accused the Government of "taking a scalpel" to NHS wages. They have threatened to take action.
In addition, ministers also confirmed that around 400 senior NHS managers will not receive a pay rise either.
It is estimated this will save the health service £200m in 2014-15 and £400m in 2015-16.
Unison national officer Christina McAnea said: "The Government has shown complete contempt for the NHS, contempt for staff and contempt for patients and will pay the price at the ballot box.
"Even a straight 1% increase would be nowhere near enough to meet the massive cost of living increases that NHS staff have had to cope with since 2010. Staff are on average, 10% worse off than when the coalition came to power."
It marks the fourth year of below inflation rises for those in the NHS leaving them struggling to keep up with the rising cost of living, the unions said.
Last year NHS workers received a 1% increase, before that there was a two-year pay freeze.
The contrast with the increase in politicians pay is stark. Last year it was recommended that MPs should see their wages increase by 11% by May 2015.
Rehana Azam, national officer of the GMB said: "Members will not stand aside whilst the Government makes such direct attacks on their pay and conditions. GMB will immediately begin making arrangements to consult members who will be asked to vote in a consultative ballot to decide the next steps in this dispute."
Unite and Unison have also threatened possible action.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said a 1% increase for all staff would have been "unaffordable" and had it been enacted would have meant 6,000 nurses jobs would have had to go.
He told BBC Radio 4's World At One: "If we award more than they can afford - because around three-quarters of their costs are actually staff costs - they are left with no choice but to lay off staff."
Public sector workers earn, on average, 14.5% more than those in the private sector, according to Office for National Statistics figures released earlier this week.
The average annual pay rise for those in the private sector is around 2.5%.
Asked abut the announcement during his trip to Israel, Mr Cameron told the BBC: "NHS staff are worth a 1% pay rise and everyone in the NHS will get at least a 1% pay rise, either through the 1% raise or through the progression payments that they otherwise receive."
The Treasury said: "The public sector pay bill makes up over half of departmental resource spending, therefore continued pay restraint remains central to the Government's deficit reduction strategy. Public sector pay restraint has already helped protect thousands of jobs and frontline services."
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