UK health minister says will not negotiate on pay with nurses’ union

LONDON (Reuters) -Britain’s health minister, Steve Barclay, said on Sunday that the government would not negotiate on pay with the nurses’ union, as the threat of further strike looms.

The government’s offer, which includes a one-off payment equivalent to 2% of salaries in the 2022/23 financial year and a 5% pay rise for 2023/24, was rejected by members of the Royal College of Nursing in April.

When asked by Sky News whether the government would resume talks with the union, Barclay said “Not on the amount of pay.”

The union is already balloting its 300,000 members on further strike action over the next six months.

The union did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for a comment on Barclay’s remarks on Sunday. It has been said that the government must pay National Health Service (NHS) staff “fairly.”

The relationship between the union, which has staged multiple strikes that have disrupted patient care, and the government became strained in late April when the health department limited the length of a strike after legal action against the RCN.

(Reporting by Muvija M; Editing by Alison Williams and Jane Merriman)

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