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Homenews politicsOliver Dowden Claims Nurses’ Pay Rises Are "Not Reasonably priced" As Unions...

Oliver Dowden Claims Nurses’ Pay Rises Are “Not Reasonably priced” As Unions Warn Of Additional Strikes


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Oliver Dowden Claims Nurses’ Pay Rises Are 'Not Affordable' As Unions Warn Of Further Strikes

Nurses could possibly be requested to take additional strike motion in January except ministers agree to debate elevated pay offers (Alamy)

John Johnston

5 min learn

Cupboard Workplace minister Oliver Dowden has insisted the federal government’s door is “all the time open” for union talks, however refused to budge over pay rises for nurses.

Talking on Sunday, Dowden urged NHS employees to “name off” their strikes forward of additional deliberate walkouts by nurses and ambulance drivers.

Members of the Royal Faculty of Nursing are set to strike on 20 December having already taken motion on 15 December, whereas ambulance employees in England and Wales are set to strike on 21 and 28 December.

Ambulance employees and nurses have been provided pay rises of round 4.75 per cent by impartial pay evaluation our bodies, however union leaders have stated the rise would symbolize an actual phrases pay minimize attributable to inflation charges operating at greater than 10 per cent.

Talking to the BBC’s Laura Kuenessberg, Dowden urged the unions to name off the strikes, saying elevated pay provides could be made as soon as public funds have been stronger.

“We assist to get the economic system stronger, we get the economic system rising, then we will afford the type of pay rises we desperately wish to give folks,” he stated.

And he claimed that present pay calls for from nursing unions of round 19 per cent have been “merely not reasonably priced” as he repeated disputed claims that caving to pay calls for from putting public sector employees would price households £1,000 a yr to fund the will increase.

Explaining the determine, Dowden stated: “We’ve taken the extent of inflation, which is at the moment at 10 or 11 per cent, and now we have projected that ahead for subsequent yr, as a result of that’s what you’ll count on it to use, and that will give £1,000 for each household if we matched that for the general public sector.”

Ministers have repeatedly confronted criticism over the determine due to the federal government’s determination to make use of one month of inflation information to create the projection reasonably than taking a median inflation fee, with the Institute for Fiscal Research estimating the precise whole could be round half of the federal government’s present claimed determine.

However the feedback prompted criticism from Matthew Taylor, the top of the NHS Confederation, who stated it “does appear as if the door is shut by the Authorities in the case of this query of pay”.

Additional Strikes

However union leaders warned over the weekend {that a} main wave of additional strike motion may happen within the New 12 months, with “extra hospitals and extra nurses collaborating than at current”.

In an ultimatum to ministers, the Royal Faculty of Nursing stated its members could be requested to think about additional disputes in January with nursing employees providing “much less beneficiant” help inside hospitals except the federal government reopened negotiations on pay by Thursday.

Pat Cullen, the union’s common secretary, stated: “The federal government ought to get this wrapped up by Christmas. January’s strikes, if they’re pressured to go forward, will see extra hospitals and extra nurses collaborating than at current – 2023 must be a contemporary begin for all, no more of the identical.”

She added: “Ministers can take away the concerns of nurses who’re anticipating to start out the yr with such uncertainty.

“We aren’t searching for a miracle, it’s of their present to unravel it.”

Based on The Observer, Treasury and well being division officers have already begun analyzing choices for ending the strikes, together with probably providing employees a one-off lump sum fee to spice up pay packets.

Nurse holding a sign on the picket lineIn the meantime, contingency plans are being stepped as much as shield important providers throughout winter, with round 1,200 members of the army and 1,000 civil servants anticipated to be drafted in to restrict disruption.

Navy personnel will likely be requested to drive ambulances throughout strike days and in addition man border checkpoints throughout walkouts by Border Drive employees over the Christmas interval.

The usage of army employees has already prompted criticism from union leaders, with Sara Gorton, head of well being on the Unison union, saying the army have been “no subsitute” for skilled ambulance employees, warning they might solely be capable of reply to much less pressing calls and wouldn’t have the coaching required to exceed velocity limits or drive via crimson lights.

And Admiral Tony Radakin, head of the armed forces, stated it was “perilous” to routinely count on army employees to cowl for putting employees, saying they need to be left to “concentrate on our major function”.


However writing within the Solar on Sunday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak attacked union leaders, and accused the leaders of rail unions of trying to “steal Christmas” after their determination to press forward with a wave of walkouts throughout December.

“Even Labour have admitted the unions’ calls for are unaffordable. However they will nonetheless take union cash and undermine the pursuits of the travelling public,” he wrote.

“Labour again the Grinches that wish to steal Christmas for their very own political ends.We’re doing all the things we will to make sure folks get the Christmas they deserve.

“The military is stepping up and we’re putting in different measures to maintain providers operating the place attainable.”

He added: “The unions are inflicting distress for thousands and thousands , with transport strikes particularly cruelly timed to hit at Christmas.

“Rail employees and border officers have been provided offers which might be honest – and reasonably priced to taxpayers.”

However shadow immigration minister Stephen Kinnock stated Sunak’s feedback proved the federal government have been “spoiling for a battle” with unions as he known as for them to supply a “constructive answer” to the disputes.

“I believe the federal government must cease all of the rhetoric, the empty posturing and sowing the seeds of division and truly now wants to start out discovering a constructive answer in order that we will get folks again to work in a approach the place they really feel valued and the place they really feel that there’s a actual way forward for them in these jobs.”

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