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Oliver Dowden encourages nurses to accept ‘decent’ deals to end strike

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Cabinet Minister Oliver Dowden has urged nurses to accept a 5% wage increase offered in what he called a “decent” deal.

He admitted that it would be difficult to find the necessary funds to finance a proposal to improve wages for NHS staff, but said the strike should be stopped and bids accepted.

The Prime Minister of the Principality of Lancaster told Sky News: “Finding this money is not easy.

“But in this context of properly rewarding nurses and preventing disruption, we think we can find the funding to do this, but it’s not going to be easy.”

He suggested the funding could come from the £160bn NHS budget or from “broader government spending”.

He added: “Given the pressure health services are under worldwide, we will not take them away from the front lines.

“I’m not denying your claim that this money is hard to find.

Dowden spoke with journalist Laura Kuensberg this morning (Photo: Getty)
Principality of Lancaster delivers verdict over nurses wage strike (Photo: Tayfun Salci/ZUMA Press Wire/Shutterstock)

“This is why the government has held out for so long on these negotiations, because we didn’t have huge amounts of money to rely on.

“But I’m sure we can find it either within the NHS budget or in broader government spending.”

nurse last week A one-off payment for the financial year equivalent to £1,655 to £3,789 and a 5% consolidated salary increase were offered.

As an additional commitment to nurses and ambulance staff, the government has agreed to create a new payroll sheet dedicated to all nursing staff, intended to come into force in 2024/25. .

The agreed deal is a far cry from what nurses originally requested late last year.

In December, for the first time in the RCN’s 105-year history, a nurse resigned as she wanted a 19.2% pay rise to make up for the enormous inflation.

The government had previously indicated it could only raise workers’ wages by 3.5%.

Earlier this year, the union said it would compromise with a 10% price increase.

Ambulance staff and nurses went on strike and picketed last week (Photo: Getty)
NHS staff have been battling over their salaries for months (Photo: Getty)

Unions must vote on their members before the dispute is over, and suspend future strikes while it is being done.

Despite months of refusal to negotiate current NHS wage levels, Oliver Dowden insisted that “we were always happy to engage with the union”.

Mr Dowden told the BBC’s Sunday with Laura Kuensberg:

He added: “If you want to get into something like the guts of two different deals, my overall distribution is, ‘We’re doing a decent deal right now, let’s move forward.'” I think that’s it.

“But as for the actual details, first of all, the RCN[Royal College of Nursing]has changed its position.

“Secondly, the additional amounts agreed this year are so-called non-consolidated, which means they will not be carried forward and will not add much, which means they will not really add much to inflation.

On top of that, we’re looking forward to next year, and we’ve always said we’re willing to do so, and next year’s numbers are about in line with where we’d expect a wider public or private. I am doing it. Sectors are paid.

“So it’s a decent deal, and I urge people to back it.”

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