The UK government finally opening negotiations about NHS pay in England is a positive development, but talks must be held with all unions involved in the dispute, the CSP has said.
A joint statement on Tuesday evening by the Royal College of Nursing and the government announced that talks would begin on Wednesday with a focus on pay.
Elaine Sparkes, CSP Assistant Director and lead negotiator on pay, said:
‘Unions have been lobbying for talks since last summer and health leaders and the public have added their voice over the last weeks as the NHS pay dispute has escalated. It is frankly astonishing that the government has ignored those calls until now.
‘However late in the day, pay talks are welcome. It is, however, essential that these involve all health unions. With the exception of doctors and dentists, all NHS staff share the same pay, grading, terms and conditions and any resolution must reflect that.
‘In the absence of meaningful talks, we will continue with our imminent plans to announce our next round of physiotherapy strikes. I hope the government will now act swiftly to avoid this.’
The Department of Health and Social Care had earlier today submitted its evidence to the Pay Review Body for 2023/24, indicating that a pay rise above 3.5 per cent would be unaffordable.
‘This pay recommendation from government is both unjustifiable and insulting to NHS staff,’ Elaine added.
‘It is substantially below inflation and ignores the urgent need to attract and retain more NHS staff, who will be both angry and disappointed to see the government’s position.’
The CSP will be announcing further strikes before the end of the week, if we do not receive some firm commitments from the Department of Health and Social Care.
CSP will update members on any developments as the week progresses.
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