NHS managers should receive a pay rise at least equal to the retail price index, Managers in Partnership told the NHS pay review body this week.

In oral evidence, the managers' union and Unison argued that the government's inflation measure - the consumer price index, now running at 2 per cent - was not a realistic measure of price increases. Instead, the body should look at the retail index, which was running at 4.3 per cent in November 2007.

In their joint evidence, the unions said they would consider three-year pay deals if they kept pace with inflation and were subject to review if inflation grew beyond expectations.

Managers in Partnership chief executive Jon Restell also raised concerns about training. Nearly half his members had fewer than three days' training in the last year, with 15 per cent getting none. Managers worked long hours with no extra pay, with three quarters saying their workload had increased in the last year.

"This is the first time the body has ruled on all the salaries of staff affected by Agenda for Change. This is the first time they will have had a picture painted of what life is like for an NHS middle manager."