Oliver Dowden agency on pay as nurses warn of extra strikes


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The authorities has reiterated it’s “resolute” on pay after nursing unions threatened to escalate strike motion if ministers don’t have interaction in talks inside 48 hours of Tuesday’s walkout.

Members of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) are on account of stage a second strike on 20 December.

Cabinet minister Oliver Dowden insisted ministers had been “reasonable” however had an obligation to maintain funds beneath management.

He insisted that nurses’ pay must be determined by the NHS pay overview physique.

In July, this physique really helpful a £1,400 rise, with barely extra for skilled nurses – a rise of about 4% on common.

The RCN is looking for a pay rise of 19%, however union chief Pat Cullen mentioned this was a “starting point” and any new provide can be put to members.

Urging the unions to name off the strike, Mr Dowden advised the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg: “We will be resolute to this, because it would be irresponsible to allow public sector pay and inflation to get out of control and we owe a wider duty to the public to make sure we keep our public finances under control.”

Challenged in regards to the authorities’s reluctance to have interaction on pay, the Cabinet minister in control of contingency planning for strikes, mentioned the federal government was “always willing talk”.

“We’re trying to be reasonable, we’re trying to be proportionate and we’re trying to be fair,” he mentioned.

He added that the federal government was attempting to “take the politics out” of the difficulty of pay by accepting the NHS overview physique’s suggestions.

But Ms Cullen says ministers are utilizing the suggestions as “cover” and her union was “seriously looking at whether we take part anymore”.

“We have been hoodwinked into lending credence to this process for years and if we aren’t being listened to then it cannot be independent,” she added.

A small variety of Conservative MPs have referred to as on the federal government to revisit its provide to nurses. The newest to take action, former minister Caroline Nokes, referred to as for the federal government to take “another look at the negotiations”.

Some Tories, together with former Cabinet minister Robert Buckland, have additionally mentioned the pay overview physique must be requested to make contemporary suggestions.

Mr Dowden repeated the federal government’s declare that inflation-matching pay rises throughout the general public sector would value an additional £28bn – insisting the determine was “robust” regardless of criticism from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) assume tank who offered a determine of half of this.

Chart Showing Nurse Salaries

The Labour-run Welsh authorities, which is chargeable for the NHS in Wales, has additionally accepted the pay overview’s suggestions, saying it was taking this determination to guard spending.

On Sunday, First Minister Mark Drakeford mentioned the UK authorities had not given it a sufficiently big funds to pay for a better enhance, and funding an increase from its current funds would scale back remedy for sufferers.

The Scottish authorities has supplied NHS employees pay rises averaging 7.5% in a bid to keep away from industrial motion. It has been accepted by Unite and Unison, two main NHS unions.

However, it has been rejected by one other, the GMB, while a poll of RCN members in Scotland closes on Monday. It just isn’t clear when outcomes might be introduced.

The RCN’s strike on Thursday was the most important in its historical past. Across England round 9,999 workers had been absent, whereas nearly 16,000 appointments, procedures and surgical procedures had been rescheduled.

It concerned round 1 / 4 of hospitals and group groups in England, all trusts in Northern Ireland and all however one well being board in Wales.

Ms Cullen mentioned an escalation would contain a better variety of hospitals and scaling again assist for non-emergency providers.

During motion up to now, the RCN has mentioned it can nonetheless workers chemotherapy, emergency most cancers providers, dialysis, crucial care models, neonatal and paediatric intensive care.

Some areas of psychological well being and studying incapacity and autism providers are additionally exempt.

Troops to cowl

The motion by nurses might be adopted on 21 December by a strike by ambulance workers, when Unison, GMB and Unite members take motion on 28 December. GMB union members will go on strike once more on 28 December.

Around 1,200 members of the navy are being drafted in to cowl for ambulance employees, in addition to hanging Border Force workers.

However, well being unions warn navy workers aren’t “sufficiently trained”.

Sara Gorton, head of well being at Unison, mentioned there was “unfortunately more risk” to sufferers throughout a strike, however mentioned: “Every single day patients are being put at risk because of the staffing crisis”.

Industrial motion has additionally been taken by rail employees, Royal Mail workers and different sectors in latest weeks over pay disputes as the price of living rises.

The authorities has introduced it can publish a brand new “resilience framework” on Monday, geared toward bettering how the UK prepares for and responds to crucial points like strikes.

Graphic Which Shows Those Going On Strike In The Next Month - They Include Ambulance Workers In England And Wales, Nurses, Health Workers In Northern Ireland, Rail Workers, Abellio Buses, Some Heathrow Baggage Handlers, Highway Workers, Border Force Workers, Driving Examiners And Royal Mail.