The review body has rejected calls to activate a clause in the three-year pay deal that allows it to be reviewed.
The pay deal was agreed based on predictions that inflation would fall, but it has far outstripped forecasts for much of this year, leaving nurses facing a real-terms pay cut.
Unite national officer for health Karen Reay said the review body's advice not to reopen the pay deal was a ‘bitter blow'.
She added: ‘We think its remit is too narrow when looking at the overall pay and employment conditions for NHS staff.'
The union says the ball is in the government's court and called again for it to consider fresh pay talks.
Industrial action, including possible strikes, have been backed in a ballot by the union earlier in the year, and remain a possibility if no solution is reached.
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