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NHS strike suspended after improved offer

A STRIKE over NHS pay was suspended yesterday after unions reached a potential deal with the government.

Nurses, midwives and ambulance crews were among members of eight unions due to stage a 12-hour walkout tomorrow in protest over Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s refusal to increase their pay by a mere 1 per cent.

But unions emerged from their latest talks with the Tory minister yesterday with a potential new pay deal.

It includes a consolidated 1 per cent pay rise, an additional £200 payment for low-paid staff, the abolition of the lowest pay grade and a new starting rate of £15,100.

Unison head of health and lead negotiator Christina McAnea said: “The two strike days staged by health workers last year have moved the government to negotiate with the unions.

“This isn’t a great offer but it addresses some of the key concerns unions have about low pay in the NHS.

“In the interest of patients’ safety unions will now consult members.”

Ms McAnea added that further industrial action will be taken if members choose to reject the terms in a ballot to be launched in the coming days.

The dispute was sparked when Mr Hunt rejected the recommendation of the NHS Pay Review Body.

The government’s new offer includes a commitment to the independent body, which will continue to make recommendations on pay increases in 2016/17.

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