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  1. ITV Report

More than a million health workers set for at least 6.5% pay rise over three years ending NHS pay cap

Union leaders are to recommend a pay offer for more than a million NHS workers worth between 6.5% and 29% over three years.

The proposed deal, agreed at a meeting on Wednesday between 14 unions and NHS employers, signals the end of the Government's controversial 1% pay cap.

The deal could benefit hospital porters, midwives, nurses, 999 callers, healthcare assistants and other NHS staff.

Workers on the lowest pay grades, such as porters, cleaners and caterers, would get an immediate pay rise this year of over £2,000, between 11% and 13%.

Some 100,000 workers will get a pay increase of up to 17%. Credit: ITV News

Higher paid staff will receive a 6.5% pay rise in three years but all other workers will get between 9 and 29% more.

A statement from 12 union leaders including Unite, Unison and the Royal College of Nursing said the change would mean that from April 1 all workers would be paid at least £8.93 an hour taking the lowest paid full-time salary to £17,460.

However, the GMB is to recommend its members reject of the proposed NHS pay deal, saying it means a real terms pay cut for the most loyal, longest-serving workers.

As part of the deal, there will be a reform of 'progression' pay rises meaning that performance assessments will be carried out before pay rises are awarded.

It also requires the NHS to crackdown on sick leave and absenteeism.

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The proposal apparently abandons plans to ask NHS staff to give up a day's annual leave in exchange for the pay rise.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told parliament that the proposal was a "something for something" deal which brings in "profound changes in productivity in exchange for significant rises in pay".

By April 2021, the lowest pay band is to be scrapped moving the all staff to the next pay grade, increasing the minimum full time salary to £18,005.

The deal will see increases of between 15 and 17% in pay for 100,000 NHS staff.

The £4.2 billion deal will be put into effect with money coming from the Government rather than existing budgets.

Money is also expected to be set aside for similar rises in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Government will put £4.2bn into the pay deal. Credit: PA

Unite national officer for health Sarah Carpenter welcomed the proposal, adding: "At long last, after years of pay austerity there has been a significant recognition that this harsh pay regime imposed on hard-working and dedicated NHS staff can no longer be sustained."

"Unite welcomes many aspects of this deal, on which we will be consulting our membership over the next couple of months.

"However, we regard this as the start, not the end, of the journey for true pay justice for NHS staff, which we will campaign for with vigour in the coming months and years."

6.5%
Health workers at the top end of the pay scale will get a 6.5% increase over three years.
100,000
The number of workers who will get a pay rise of at least 15%, £2,300 in real terms.
The pay rise marks an end to the 1% pay cap for NHS workers. Credit: PA

Health and Social Care Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: "NHS staff have never worked harder and this deal is recognition of that - alongside some important modernisation of the way their contracts work.

"Over one million employees on Agenda for Change contracts - including the lowest paid NHS workers - will get pay rises that see starting salary increasing year on year from £15,404 to £18,005 in 2020/2021.

"The starting salary of a nurse will also rise to £24,907 which will have a significant impact on retention and recruitment issues.

"We will also extend shared parental leave rights to all staff, and employers and unions have made a commitment to reducing sickness absence through a better shared focus on staff health and wellbeing, all of which will be welcomed by staff after a very tough winter."

12.6%
The increase in salary for newly qualified nurses.
The pay deal includes call handlers, cleaners and porters. Credit: PA

Responding to the pay offer for NHS staff, Janet Davies, general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: "The progress achieved here is a credit to our members who fought hard to scrap the brutally unfair pay cap.

"Today's deal is neither a magic wand nor a blank cheque but commits significant Government cash to overlooked NHS staff without making any unpalatable demands in return. For that reason, we will be asking members to vote in favour.

"There are 40,000 unfilled nurse jobs in England alone and this should begin to make the profession attractive again.

"The next three years could be turbulent and this deal gives NHS workers some much-needed stability."