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Union majority set to back pay deal

Published on: 28 Apr 2023

A majority of the NHS Staff Council is set to support the Agenda for Change pay deal agreed between unions and government — though it remains unclear whether this will resolve the dispute — HSJ has been told. 

All unions apart from the British Dietetic Association and the Federation of Clinical Scientists have now declared their votes on whether to accept or reject the deal agreed last month between government and the Staff Council.

HSJ understands a majority “yes” vote has been reached, following a “yes” from GMB, declared this afternoon.

It is unclear how large the majority will be, because the size of the balloted membership of all the AfC unions is not public, and nor is the formula used to determine voting in the NHS Staff Council. Some figures suggest it will be close, while others are pointing to a clear majority.

It is also unclear whether the result will resolve the dispute. 

The NHS Staff Council will meet on Tuesday to discuss the outcome and decide its next steps. 

But the Royal College of Nursing, whose members voted against the deal, is striking from this Sunday to Monday, and reballoting for further strike action.

If the Staff Council decides to tell government it wants to go ahead with the deal, ministers will have to decide whether to implement it despite ongoing opposition from the RCN and, potentially, some other unions. 

The main components of the pay deal which was proposed were: a 5 per cent pay increase for 2023-24; a one-off award of 2 per cent of 2022-23 salary; and a one-off “NHS backlog bonus”, which varies by pay band. The deal does not cover doctors, who are on separate pay frameworks.

Estimated breakdown of union votes, for and against, in the NHS Staff Council

Vote split is an unconfirmed estimate, and based on information from sources. Unions have declined to provide current vote split.