NHS strikes are set to be paused after the government offered up “an extra £2.5bn” to fund a fresh pay deal for healthcare workers.
It comes the day after Chancellor Jeremy Hunt faced criticism for failing to announce any measures on public sector pay in his budget, amid widespread industrial unrest.
This includes all NHS staff, such as nurses, ambulance workers, paramedics, midwives and support staff such as cleaners – but not doctors..
GMB union has said it will pause strikes as it consults members on whether to accept the government’s latest deal.
Rachel Harrison, general secretary, said: “Thanks to the strength and hard work of GMB’s NHS members, the government has gone from refusing to talk about pay to putting an extra £2.5bn pounds on the table for this year.”
She said the national committee recommended accepting the offer, as it met a key demand of a pay uplift for the lowest paid, but that the “final decision belongs to our members”.
Harrison said: “GMB members should rightly be proud of themselves.
“It’s been a tough road but they have faced down the Department of Health and won an offer that we feel is the best that can be achieved at this stage through negotiation.
“NHS strikes action will be paused until the outcome of the ballot.”
A government spokesperson said: “The government and the NHS Staff Council – which brings together NHS employers and unions representing the Agenda for Change workforce – have completed negotiations and reached a final offer.
“This includes additional pay for 2022/23 and a pay settlement for 2023/24.”
They added: “Both sides believe it represents a fair and reasonable settlement that acknowledges the dedication of NHS staff, while acknowledging the wider economic pressures currently facing the UK.
“Those unions with mandates for industrial action – RCN, UNISON, GMB, CSP, Unite and BDA – will now consult their members in consultations that will be held over the coming weeks.
“Strike action will continue to be paused while these ballots are ongoing.”
Its understood the agreement does not include junior doctors who are represented by a separate union.
Strikes have affected NHS care in recent months, with nurses, ambulance drivers and junior doctors all taking action over pay.
Fourteen unions were represented at the talks covering nurses, ambulance staff, physios, midwives and support staff, including cleaners and porters.