Berkshire Nurses To Decide On £600 Cut

5 October 2011, 05:00 | Updated: 5 October 2011, 12:11

Nurses at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading, who face losing their £600 a year allowance, have until the end of the day to agree - or have their contract terminated.

The Recruitment and Retention Payment (RRP) is used to attract staff to work outside of London because they will earn less but have a high cost of living.

It stopped being offered to new nurses and health professionals earlier this year.

The Royal Berkshire Foundation Trust says it will save them around £1million a year and help them keep jobs.

In September 1,736 nurses got a letter informing them of the changes.

They either have to agree to have the allowance cut or they will have their current contract torn up. They then have the choice of signing a new one without the supplement included, worth around £50 a month.

Lindsey Meeks from the Royal College of Nursing says some staff were devastated by the way it was handled.

"A number of these nurses have worked for the trust for a number of years. One member actually expressed to me that it was such a kick in the teeth. It's quite emotional really but they were hugely disappointed."

She added that members had told her nothing was stopping them now from trying to get work in London with the extra pay that brings.

A spokesman for the trust says they are having to look closely at their spending.

"While we appreciate this is disappointing for those staff who currently receive the payment and will represent a reduction of income, the aim of this action is to achieve savings through means other than job losses.

"Most other groups of staff at the trust receiving a RRP payment have already undergone such a review."

Any staff that agree will get around £300 in their accounts before the end of Christmas as an incentive.