The soaring cost of living has led to a vote by senior health activists of UNISON, the UK’s largest health union, to trigger a re-opener clause on a multi-year pay deal.

The call for a better pay deal by UNISON’s Health Executive comes in the wake of increases in the costs of fuel, energy and food which are driving inflation beyond the 2% assumption made at the time of the agreement earlier this year.

UNISON Head of Health Karen Jennings, said:

“Nurses and other health workers are already struggling to cope with almost daily increases in the cost of basic necessities such a food and energy. The re-opener clause was central to this year’s multi-year pay talks because it provided a much-needed safety net against just this situation.

“We will be gathering evidence to present to the independent Pay Review Body to show that there have been significant changes since the deal was negotiated in the spring. Our members reluctantly accepted 2.75% this year but the 2.54% and 2.5% increases negotiated for the next two years now fall well short of all expected inflation figures.”

UNISON will work with the other health unions to submit new evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body and make the case that the pay rates for 2009/2010 should be reviewed..

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