embers of Unison have voted overwhelmingly to accept a pay offer aimed at resolving the long-running NHS dispute.
The union announced that 74% of those who voted backed the deal of a 5% pay rise this year and a cash payment for last year.
The turnout was 52% among Unison’s 288,000 members in England.
The decision was revealed ahead of an announcement by the Royal College of Nursing of its ballot among nurses on the same offer.
This vote might end Unison’s dispute, but it doesn’t solve the wider staffing emergency affecting every part of the NHS
Unison had recommended acceptance of the offer, which followed talks involving unions, employers and ministers.
The offer covers two pay years – an additional one-off amount for 2022/23 and a 5% wage rise for 2023/24.
Unison’s head of health Sara Gorton said: “Clearly health workers would have wanted more, but this was the best that could be achieved through negotiation.
“Over the past few weeks, health workers have weighed up what’s on offer. They’ve opted for the certainty of getting the extra cash in their pockets soon.
“It’s a pity it took several months of strike action before the Government would commit to talks. Unions told ministers last summer the £1,400 pay rise wasn’t enough to stop staff leaving the NHS, nor to prevent strikes, but they didn’t want to listen.
“Instead, health workers were forced to strike, losing money they could ill afford. The NHS and its patients suffered months of unnecessary disruption.
“Other unions are still consulting so the full picture won’t emerge until the end of the month. Unison will be urging the Government to ensure NHS workers get the wage rises they’ve voted for at the earliest opportunity.
“This vote might end Unison’s dispute, but it doesn’t solve the wider staffing emergency affecting every part of the NHS.
The decision by members of Unison, the largest NHS union, to accept the pay offer recommended by their leadership demonstrates that it is a fair and reasonable proposal that can bring this dispute to an end
“Now, the Government must work with unions to bring about a sustained programme of investment in the workforce.
“Lessons must also be learned. The mistakes of the past few months cannot be repeated. It’s time for a whole new approach to setting pay across the NHS.”
A Government spokesperson said: “The decision by members of Unison, the largest NHS union, to accept the pay offer recommended by their leadership demonstrates that it is a fair and reasonable proposal that can bring this dispute to an end.
“Under the offer, an Agenda for Change employee at the Band 6 entry point – such as a physiotherapist, paramedic or a midwife – will receive over £5,100 across last year and this year, with over £2,000 in bonus payments arriving as a lump sum in pay cheques by summer.
“Hundreds of thousands of Agenda for Change staff continue to vote in ballots for other unions over the next two weeks and we hope this generous offer secures their support.”