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Striking UK Health Workers Strike Tentative Pay Deal With Government

© AP Photo / Alastair Grant / Junior doctors hold placards on a picket line outside St Mary's Hospital in LondonJunior doctors hold placards on a picket line outside St Mary's Hospital in London
Junior doctors hold placards on a picket line outside St Mary's Hospital in London - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.03.2023
Nurses and other healthcare workers have joined the wave of strikes engulfing the UK as inflation soared into double digits — driven by sanctions on Russian energy exports. Now they will be balloted on a deal that falls way below their initial demands.
Striking nurses and other healthcare workers have reached a potential pay settlement with the Department of Health.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay announced the deal on Thursday afternoon after talks between the government and the National Health Service (NHS) Staff Council, a joint body of public healthcare providers and trade unions.
It includes a five per cent pay rise — well below the current 10.1 per cent inflation inflation and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) demand for a five per cent on top of that figure.
But it is sweetened by extra lump-sum payments for staff on top of their 2022/23 salaries, which Barclay said would add up to £1,800 for a Grade Five qualified nurse.
There will also be a £1,250 'Backlog Bonus' as a reward for helping clear the NHS long list of cancelled appointments and treatments left by the COVID-19 pandemic.
But the agreement will have to be approved by ballots of members of trade unions including Royal College of Nursing, UNISON, GMB, Unite, the British Dietetic Association (BDA) and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP).
Teachers hold flags and placards on a picket line outside Holland Park School in the Kensington area of London - Sputnik International, 1920, 14.03.2023
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"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," a government statement said. “Strike action will continue to be paused while these ballots are ongoing.”
A separate strike by junior hospital doctors in demand of a 35 per cent pay rise will continue, as their union the British Medical Association (BMA) is not party to the deal.
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