The Prime Minister will not offer striking NHS nurses a bigger pay rise, it was confirmed today after a union rejected the Government’s ‘final offer’.
Rishi Sunak‘s spokesperson today said pay negotiations with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) will not be reopened.
The union confirmed on Friday that 54 per cent of balloted members in England rejected a five per cent pay rise this year plus a one-off bonus averaging 6 per cent.
The RCN, which said the offer was ‘simply not enough’, announced that its members would hold a 48-hour strike at the end of the month and be balloted over whether they wanted to back strike action for a further six months.
Pat Cullen, chief executive of the union, today said that the RCN will ‘get a better deal’ and urged the Government to ‘pay nurses decently’ and ‘add to’ what they had already offered.
Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson today said pay negotiations with the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) will not be reopened
Pat Cullen, chief executive of the union, today said that the RCN will ‘get a better deal’ and urged the Government to ‘pay nurses decently’ and ‘add to’ what they had already offered
But Downing Street has ruled out improving its pay offer and said talks will not be reopened after the rejection of the proposed deal.
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.’
Last month, the Government offered nurses a one-off payment for last year will see staff get between £1,655 and £3,789, depending on their pay. This is in addition to the £1,400 NHS staff received for 2022/23 last September.
The wage rise for this year is worth at least £1,065 and would raise the lowest hourly rate in the NHS in England to £11.45 an hour, or £22,383 a year.
At the time, Ms Cullen asked members to ‘support what our negotiations have secured’, despite previously campaigning for an 18 per cent rise.
But announcing that only 46 per cent of balloted RCN members backed the reward, she said: ‘After a historic vote to strike, our members expect a historic pay award.’
The RCN has argued that an above inflation pay rise is needed to help nurses combat the cost of living crisis and stop staff leaving the NHS for better paying jobs in supermarkets or abroad.
Asked today on Good Morning Britain whether she could get a better deal, Ms Cullen said: ‘Yes we will have to get a better deal.
‘What I would say to the Government, if they’re watching this morning – for goodness sake, this is not about point scoring.
‘This is not about who can be the smartest person in the class. this is about trying to take the NHS back from the brink. That’s what our nursing staff are trying to do.
‘We need to fill the 47,000 vacant nursing posts. we won’t do that unless we pay these nurses decently. but they need to leave on the table what this Government put on last month. Don’t take anything off and add to it.
‘Treat these nurses fairly, value them and lets move on from this. then we won’t have strikes to Christmas.
She added: ‘Nursing staff are saying we will stand up for our patients. We will work night and day for our patients. We will lose pay and stand on picket lines for our patients. But you will have to pay us at the end of the day.’
But in a letter to Ms Cullen yesterday, the Health Secretary said the Government’s offer is ‘a fair and reasonable settlement that acknowledges the dedication of NHS staff’.
Mr Barclay wrote: ‘After you recommended the deal be accepted, I am disappointed that given the turnout, a rejection from less than half of your members was sufficient for a narrow rejection overall.’
He noted that Unison, which represents thousands of NHS nurses, ambulance and hospital staff ‘decisively accepted’ the same offer on Friday, while other unions are still considering it.
Ms Cullen confirmed that the next nurses strike will run over the early May Bank Holiday, from 8pm on April 30 to 8pm on May 2
It puts to end the dispute that saw tens of thousands of union members strike over the winter months, leading to mass disruption across the health service
Ms Cullen confirmed that the next nurses strike will run over the early May Bank Holiday, from 8pm on April 30 to 8pm on May 2.
It follows a four-day walk out among junior doctors last week, which saw hundreds of thousands of operations and appointments cancelled.
Unlike previous strikes by nurses, this action will be without any exemptions, meaning it will not provide staff to cover emergency, intensive or cancer care.
She urged Health Secretary Steve Barclay to meet to open negotiations as soon as possible to, warning that nurses are ‘forced back to the picket line’ until there is a ‘significantly improved offer’.
The upcoming strike action is the last the RCN can legally hold, as the union is only allowed to organise walkouts within six months of its original industrial action ballot.
But if nurses back strikes in an upcoming ballot, it would allow walkouts for a further six months and could open the door to both nurses and junior doctors striking at the same time, if the RCN and the British Medical Association (BMA) decide to coordinate walkouts.
Mr Barclay said he was ‘disappointed and concerned’ that the union was taking to picket lines again and warned its approach will ‘put patients at risk’.
He added: ‘The strike action you have called will cause significant disruption at a time when the NHS is already under extreme pressure.’
Where will nurses strike on April 30?
The RCN has said the 48-hour, no exceptions walkout will be held at the following NHS workplaces in England.:
Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust
Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
East Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Kettering General Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
NHS Derby and Derbyshire ICB
NHS Nottingham and Nottinghamshire ICB
Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust
East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust
Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust
NHS Hertfordshire and West Essex ICB
NHS Mid and South Essex ICB
NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB
NHS Suffolk and North East Essex ICB
Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
Norfolk Community Health and Care
NHS Trust Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust
Guys and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust
Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust
Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust
Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
NHS North Central London ICB
NHS South West London ICB
Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
St George’s University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust
University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust
Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust
Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
NHS Cheshire and Merseyside ICB
NHS Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB
North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust
St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust
The Christie NHS Foundation Trust
The Clatterbridge Cancer Centre NHS Foundation Trust
The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust
Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust
Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Wrightington Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust
Country Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust
Gateshead NHS Foundation Trust
North of England Commissioning Support (NECS)
North East Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
The Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust
East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust
Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust
NHS Kent and Medway ICB
NHS Surrey Heartlands ICB
Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
South East Coast Ambulance Service
Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust
Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust
Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust
Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust
Solent NHS Trust
South Central Ambulance Services NHS Foundation Trust
Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust
Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust
Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
Devon Partnership NHS Trust
Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust
Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
NHS Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire ICB
NHS Devon ICB (One Devon)
NHS Dorset ICB (One Dorset)
NHS Gloucestershire ICB (One Gloucestershire)
North Bristol NHS Trust
Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust
Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust
Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust
Somerset NHS Foundation Trust
South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust
Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
Dudley Integrated Health and Care NHS Trust
Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust
Midlands and Lancashire CSU
Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
NHS Birmingham and Solihull ICB (BSol ICB)
NHS Black Country ICB
Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust
The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust
Yorkshire and the Humber
Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust
Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust
NHS North West Yorkshire ICB
Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust
Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust
York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Health Education England
NHS Blood and Transplant
NHS England NHS Resolution
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