The Royal College of Nursing has slammed Steve Barclay over recent salary negotiations

Steve Barclay with Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday

Steve Barclay has claimed the door is open for negotiations but insists a 17.3 per cent rise is unreasonable (Image: BBC/PA).

The Health Secretary shows no sign he is willing to negotiate pay in earnest, the Royal College of Nursing has said.

Steve Barclay branded nurses’ demands for a 17.3 per cent increase as unreasonable – he told Sky News it was three times what workers in the private sector are getting.

However, he insisted his door was open for union talks after accepting independent salary recommendations.

But the RCN said it did not appear to intend to sit down for detailed, formal discussions as the cost of living is soaring.

“The Health Secretary’s lack of intention and inability to recognize the urgency of this situation will concern any nurse,” Secretary General Pat Cullen said.

“He’s finally admitted what we’ve said about years of neglect, underinvestment and resulting underperformance, but that’s not enough. We need ministers who are brave and take a radically new position with serious investments in nursing.’

The RCN has warned it would announce strike dates next month if wage negotiations do not start quickly. She calls for pay five percent above inflation – arguing that experienced nurses are 20 percent worse off after years of rising below inflation.

Mr Barclay told the BBC yesterday: “We have fully accepted the recommendations of the independent pay verification panel – that’s an increase of at least £1,400. We listened.’

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Justin Scacco

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