Members of the biggest health workers' union have voted to accept the Government's three year pay deal, it was announced today.
Unison, which represents almost 500,000 NHS employees, said its members voted in favour of the offer by 64.9 per cent.
The offer, which is worth almost 8 per cent over the next three years, has also been accepted by the Royal College of Nursing, although some other unions have rejected it.
Karen Jennings, the union's head of health said: "Unison gave all our health members the opportunity to make their vote count and the ballot result shows what a tough decision it has been.
"The 2.75 per cent on offer this year is the best in the public sector and the three-year deal offers stability. However, the rising costs of everyday items such as food, fuel and energy obviously make members wary about being locked into a three-year deal. That is why we negotiated a re-opener clause that we will not hesitate to trigger if inflation continues to rise.
"We know that a number of small health unions have voted against accepting the offer and we will be making it a priority to meet with them and discuss a way forward."
The offer gives 2.75 per cent in the first year, with 2.54 per cent in year two. It also establishes for all NHS staff a new minimum wage of £6.77 an hour. Those on the lowest point will receive an increase of 5.7 per cent.
The third year of the deal gives 2.5 per cent, including a flat rate increase of £420. Nurses, midwives and paramedics on the main grade five and the bottom of grade six will receive extra money on top of the basic increase from the second year, to recognise that more than a quarter have reached their pay ceiling.
Health Secretary Alan Johnson said the result was "great news" for NHS staff, adding: "This pay deal was constructed with skilled and professional union negotiators. The outcome is a fair settlement that will help those on the lowest wages, increase the earning potential for hundreds of thousands of staff and allow them to climb the pay ladder more quickly.
"As well as being good news for the stability of our economy, NHS staff and patients will also benefit from the security of this deal over the next three years.
"This will allow everyone in the service to concentrate on improving patient care even further. We now look forward to a formal response from the NHS unions and I am hopeful it will be a positive one."Reuse content