RCN general secretary Dr Peter Carter said: ‘Although the immediate threat of industrial action has now been lifted, the government should realise that nurses in England have accepted this offer with a very heavy heart.’
Nurses and midwives had threatened to take industrial action over a decision to deliver their 2.5 per cent pay rise in two stages.
The revised package offered in August included an extra £400 a year for staff on grades one and two, usually hospital porters, and £38 for those on grades three and four.
Those on bands five to eight, including nurses, who are required to register to practise, would receive a £38 contribution to their professional fees.
Dr Carter said: ‘The revised offer is imperfect but it is improved. It was only after months of campaigning by the RCN that the government, which had refused to budge, revised its original offer.
‘We still believe the government’s economic arguments for giving nurses in England their pay award in instalments do not stack up.
‘The government should should not underestimate the long-term implications of this year’s pay round on the morale of the nursing workforce and it should remember that it is much harder to attract first class nurses to the health service by offering them second rate pay.’
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