- 3 updates
The NHS recognises that its staff are its "greatest asset, but "cannot afford" a general payrise in a time of "severe funding restraint" a Department of Health spokesperson has said.
"That's why at a time of severe funding restraint we have been clear that they should receive at least 1% additional pay this year and next.
We cannot afford a general pay rise on top of incremental pay increases of up to 6% without risking frontline jobs and safe staffing levels.
We are disappointed that the unions rejected our offer to discuss any alternative proposals on pay, within an available budget of nearly £1 billion."
The Trades Union Congress, representing 14 health unions, said its research showed that health staff in England were "donating" £1.5 billion worth of unpaid overtime every year.
Unions said that by 2015/16 NHS staff would have had their pay capped for six years.
Pay was frozen in 2011 and 2012, and limited to 1% last year.
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said: "Every year, hard-working health service staff put in many extra hours which they don't get paid for.
These efforts save the government a hefty £1.5 billion a year, but even though this unpaid overtime is effectively keeping the NHS going, health service employees increasingly feel that the government is taking them for granted."
Health staff put in £1.5 billion of unpaid overtime every year so deserve a decent pay rise, the Government will be told today during protests by NHS workers.
Nurses, doctors, physiotherapists, paramedics, hospital cleaners and other NHS staff will take part in demonstrations against a controversial decision by the coalition Government not to accept a recommended 1% across the board wage rise for workers in England.