UK government, health unions agree pay deal in bid to end strikes

World

Published: 2023-03-16 20:48

Last Updated: 2024-02-28 03:24


UK government, health unions agree pay deal in bid to end strikes
UK government, health unions agree pay deal in bid to end strikes

The UK government and unions representing various health workers in England said Thursday they have agreed on a deal to increase pay by five percent in the next financial year, potentially ending damaging strikes.

The package, impacting around one million National Health Service (NHS) staff, will also include a further 2.0 percent rise to this year's salaries and a one-off bonus worth at least USD 1,510 per person.

It follows months of unprecedented industrial action by nurses, paramedics, emergency call handlers, midwives and others, which was paused to allow for two weeks of formal negotiations with ministers.

The main unions -- including the Royal College of Nursing, which staged its first-ever walk-out in December -- said they will recommend accepting the offer, which also covers working conditions.

"Members took the hardest of decisions to go on strike and I believe they have been vindicated today," RCN General Secretary Pat Cullen said in a statement.

"It is not a panacea, but it is real tangible progress and the RCN's member leaders are asking fellow nursing staff to support what our negotiations have secured."

But Sharon Graham, who heads the smaller Unite union representing around 100,000 NHS workers, said it was not backing the deal, although the offer would still be put to members.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hailed the agreement as "affordable for the taxpayer" and allowing his government "to deliver on my promise to halve inflation".