Juniors pay freeze plans opposed

PLANS to freeze NHS staff pay in England for a further two years have been rejected by unions.

NHS Employers are looking for national agreement on a two year incremental pay freeze for NHS staff from April 2011 in return for no compulsory redundancies. Doctors – like other healthcare staff – have already been subject to a two-year pay freeze. There are fears a further freeze could leave junior doctors in financial difficulties.

The BMA’s Junior Doctor Committee has said it is “deeply alarmed at the impact these proposals will have on junior doctors (including GP trainees) and feels that the assurances that have been offered in return for accepting the increment freeze will not be nationally enforceable and are certainly not guarantees.”

The BMA said it has received more than 1,000 responses from members opposing a pay freeze. The BMA has branded the concessions on compulsory redundancies as “tenuous”. A spokesman added: “Junior doctors have little if any incentive to accept this proposal.”

Twelve NHS chief executives have already endorsed plans to freeze pay, but the five largest unions with members in the health sector – Royal College of Nursing, GMB, Unison, Unite, and the BMA – have all rejected them.

But NHS Employers have said the offer will remain available beyond April. A spokesman said: “We hope the unions will reflect collectively on [the offer’s] value and the fact that their decision to reject it will result in more redundancies and job losses than would otherwise be the case.”

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