Gas price hike blamed for nurse pay renegotiations

The 35 per cent British Gas price hike dealt a 'deadly' blow to the government's plan for a three-year NHS pay deal, according to Unite.

Unite called for the immediate reopening of pay talks after Unison triggered a clause to reopen pay negotiations with the government in the wake of increases to the cost of living.

David Fleming, Unite’s national officer for health, said: ‘British Gas’s breathtaking announcement is the latest outrageous price rise in utility, housing, food and petrol costs.

‘The soaring cost of living these rises have generated will eventually mean ministers will have to revisit their NHS pay policy.’

A DoH spokesman said: ‘The 2008/9 award has already been accepted and staff have received their increase in their pay – the reopener clause does not apply to 2008/9.

‘For the reopener to be triggered in the following two years evidence would have to be submitted to the Pay Review Body, which would consider that evidence and make a recommendation to the DoH. The final decision as to whether pay negotiations would be reopened rests with the secretary of state.’

Under the three-year deal nurses are due a 2.54 per cent pay rise in 2009/10 and 2.5 per cent in 2010/11. Unison says these increases fall well short of all expected inflation figures.

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