Strike action paused as NHS unions and government reach deal on pay

16 March 2023, 15:45 | Updated: 16 March 2023, 16:04

The offer consists of a one-off payment for the current financial year and a 5 per cent deal for next year
The offer consists of a one-off payment for the current financial year and a 5 per cent deal for next year. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

NHS nurses and ambulance staff have agreed to a 5 per cent pay rise to halt further strikes.

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A government spokesman announced this afternoon that a deal had been reached including a pay rise for 2022/23 and a pay settlement for 2023/24.

The offer consists of a one-off payment for the current financial year 2022/23 worth between £1,655 and £3,789 for Agenda for Change staff in England and a 5 per cent consolidated pay increase for 2023/24.

Unions are recommending members support the deal after weeks of talks aimed at stopping strikes. The Royal College of Nursing, Unison and the GMB have all said they are backing the deal.

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The spokesman said both sides believe it represents "a fair and reasonable settlement" that acknowledges the dedication of NHS staff, while acknowledging the wider economic pressures currently facing the UK.

"Those unions with mandates for industrial action, RCN, Unison, GMB, CSP, Unite and BDA, will now consult their members in consultations that will be held over the coming weeks. Strike action will continue to be paused while these ballots are ongoing," the spokesman said.

A joint statement from the Government and the NHS Staff Council said: "The Government and the NHS Staff Council - which brings together NHS employers and unions representing the Agenda for Change workforce - have completed negotiations and reached a final offer.

"This includes additional pay for 2022/23 and a pay settlement for 2023/24. Both sides believe it represents a fair and reasonable settlement that acknowledges the dedication of NHS staff, while acknowledging the wider economic pressures currently facing the UK.

"Those unions with mandates for industrial action - RCN, Unison, GMB, CSP, Unite and BDA - will now consult their members in consultations that will be held over the coming weeks.

"Strike action will continue to be paused while these ballots are ongoing."

Health Secretary Steve Barclay said the offer amounts to "a fair pay rise".

He said: "I hugely admire the incredible work of NHS staff, including during the pandemic and the progress they have made to tackle the resulting backlog.

"This offer will give nurses, paramedics, physiotherapists and other non-medical staff a fair pay rise while protecting our commitment to halve inflation.

"We have engaged in constructive and meaningful discussions with unions and NHS Employers and I look forward to continuing our work together to make the NHS a better place to work."

Talks have been ongoing for almost two weeks to come to the agreement.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) agreed to suspend industrial action last month while "intensive" negotiations took place with ministers.

Unison, GMB and Unite also agreed to halt strike action by ambulance workers to allow for negotiations.

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