Royal Berkshire Hospital nurses to lose £600 pay

Nurses at a Berkshire hospital have been told they must agree to lose a pay supplement worth about £600 a year or face the sack.

A letter sent to the 1,736 affected staff at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading said they must agree to lose the allowance by 5 October.

Any who refuse will be given notice and offered contracts minus the payment.

Unison said it was "concerned" and was talking with its members. The trust said the move would save £1m.

The hospital announced last year it was axing 600 jobs by 2015 in a bid to save £60m.

The Recruitment and Retention Premium (RRP), worth about £50 a month, is given to staff in roles which hospitals struggle to fill and retain.

'Impose changes'

The letter to affected staff, which includes midwives and radiographers, said that if they signed by the deadline they would receive the equivalent of six months supplement in their December pay packets.

Kevin Jackson, Unison branch secretary, said: "I am aware that the hospital is looking to impose these changes and am aware this is causing concern for some of our members affected.

"We have planned two meetings... next week and will have a clearer picture of Unison's position then."

The Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust said many other trusts had stopped the payments over the past few years.

In a statement, the trust added: "We are trying hard to ensure as few jobs as possible are lost.

"While we appreciate that this is disappointing for those staff... the aim of this action is to achieve savings through means other than job losses."

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