Rishi Sunak refuses to offer NHS workers new pay deal after nurses' union rejects 'last offer'

17 April 2023, 21:39

Rishi Sunak has refused to budge on nurses' pay after the Royal College of Nursing rejected the Government's last offer to end industrial action
Rishi Sunak has refused to budge on nurses' pay after the Royal College of Nursing rejected the Government's last offer to end industrial action. Picture: Getty

By Chay Quinn

Rishi Sunak has ruled out a new pay offer for nurses after the Government's last offer was rejected after a ballot by the Royal College of Nursing.

The Prime Minister has stuck to his guns and said there will be no new offer after the ballot which concluded last week - insisting that offer of a 5% rise and a one-time bonus was a fair one.

The Prime Minister's official spokesperson said: "I think the RCN themselves, Pat Cullen herself, said this is the final offer. We agree.

"The Royal College of Nursing was clear that talks will not be reopened if members reject the pay offer and we agree."

Pat Cullen, general secretary of the RCN, has asked the Government to urgently reopen pay negotiations but Rishi Sunak has said that the DHSC will not budge
Pat Cullen, general secretary of the RCN, has asked the Government to urgently reopen pay negotiations but Rishi Sunak has said that the DHSC will not budge. Picture: Getty

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The nurses who have been walking out in recent weeks rejected the pay-rise as well as a bonus of between £1,655 and £3,789 depending on pay.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) announced that its members will walk out from 8pm on 30 April to 8pm on 2 May, affecting the bank holiday weekend, after the unsuccessful ballot - which saw 54% of respondents vote no.

RCN general secretary Pat Cullen wrote to Health Secretary Steve Barclay to inform him of the fresh strike action before the end of the month, and seek urgent re-opening of talks with the Government.

The new strike will also involve nursing staff working in emergency departments, intensive care units, cancer care and other services that were previously exempt, the RCN said.

The letter continued: "What has been offered to date is simply not enough. The Government needs to increase what has already been offered and we will be highly critical of any move to reduce it.

"Since our talks in February, we have seen the pressures on the NHS continue to increase.

Nurses have announced a new wave of strikes after the pay offer rejected
Nurses have announced a new wave of strikes after the pay offer rejected. Picture: Getty

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"The crisis in our health and care services cannot be addressed without significant action that addresses urgent recruitment and retention issues and nursing pay to bring this dispute to a close urgently.

"Until there is a significantly improved offer, we are forced back to the picket line.

"Meetings alone are not sufficient to prevent strike action and I will require an improved offer as soon as possible. In February, you opened negotiations directly with me and I urge you to do the same now.

"After a historic vote to strike, our members expect a historic pay award."

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