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  1. ITV Report

Unions demand 3.9% pay rise for NHS workers

Unions for NHS staff are putting pressure on the government over public sector pay, demanding a 3.9% pay rise and an extra £800 to make up for lost earnings after years of austerity.

Fourteen unions have come together to demand the increase, saying that - with inflation taken into account - pay has fallen by 15% since 2010.

The move comes after the government signalled an easing of the pay cap on Tuesday by announcing a 2% rise for the police and 1.7% for prison officers. It is thought that other public sector workers will follow.

Among the unions writing to the Chancellor Philip Hammond over the increase are Unison and the Royal College of Nursing, but the British Medical Association, the doctors' union, has not put its name to the letter.

The unions are asking Mr Hammond to earmark funds in the November Budget for a pay rise in line with RPI inflation, currently 3.9%, and an additional £800 to restore some of the pay lost over the past seven years.

Among the unions writing to the Chancellor are Unison and the Royal College of Nursing Credit: PA

A wide range of NHS workers including cleaners, nurses, radiographers, pharmacists, midwives, paramedics, therapists, dental technicians, caterers and porters have suffered real terms pay cuts of around 15% in recent years because of the government's "harsh pay policies", the unions said.

Unions usually submit evidence to a pay review body, but they said the government has undermined its role and "severely restricted" its ability to make recommendations.

Unison's head of health Sara Gorton said: "Health workers have gone without a proper pay rise for far too long. Their wages continue to fall behind inflation as food and fuel bills, housing and transport costs rise."

Royal College of Midwives director for employment relations Jon Skewes said: "This claim represents fair compensation for the rise of cost in living and goes someway to make up for midwives' pay losing over #6,000 in value since 2010."

A government spokesman said: "Public sector workers, including NHS staff, do a fantastic job and the Government is committed to ensuring they can continue to deliver world-class public services.

"The government will continue to ensure that the overall package is fair while also being affordable to taxpayers as a whole."