Sussex nurses 'face £480 a year pay cut'

More than 1,000 nurses and health professionals in Sussex face a pay cut as bosses seek to balance the books.

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals plans to remove a £480 annual recruitment and retention premium paid to about a fifth of its staff.

The trust said it had to make "some very tough financial decisions" in order to keep job cuts to a minimum.

The GMB union said it was a "shoddy way" to treat employees and it would consult members on what to do next.

The trust runs the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton and the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.

'Making nurses pay'

By stopping the payment, it plans to save £500,000 a year.

Graham White, the trust's director of human resources, said the payment was introduced in 2002 as an incentive to encourage the "best candidates" to apply.

The trust stopped the payments in 2006 but continued to pay those already receiving it.

It is currently paid to about 1,200 of its 7,000 employees.

"We are acutely aware that, particularly in the current financial climate, every penny counts," Mr White said.

"The decision to stop this payment has not been taken lightly but along with all public bodies we are having to make some very tough financial decisions to ensure as few jobs as possible are lost during this difficult time."

Gary Palmer, of the GMB union, said the trust was "making nurses pay for a debt they didn't cause".

He said: "If the trust does not withdraw this threat of a pay cut we will consult our members on what action to take to oppose this unilateral decision."

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