News

Unions unite in battle for fair NHS pay

Crucial evidence has been submitted to the NHS pay review body about staff salaries.
analysis

Health unions have united in calling on the NHS pay review body to recommend an above-inflation pay rise for nurses and other NHS staff.

The government needs to inject 280 million into the NHS by 2020, or ministers will find themselves in breach of their own minimum wage laws, according to the unions.

The RCN has described the erosion of nurses pay as unsustainable and putting patient care at risk.

Billions cut from salaries

NHS Staff Side, made up of representatives from 13 unions, submitted its annual evidence to the review body, which advises government on health service staff pay.

The evidence claims more than 4.3bn has been cut from NHS staff salaries in England alone between 2010 and 2016 and calls for:

  • A return to UK-wide pay scales, using Scotland as reference point.
  • A restructuring of bands

Health unions have united in calling on the NHS pay review body to recommend an above-inflation pay rise for nurses and other NHS staff.

The government needs to inject £280 million into the NHS by 2020, or ministers will find themselves in breach of their own minimum wage laws, according to the unions.

The RCN has described the erosion of nurses’ pay as ‘unsustainable’ and putting patient care at risk.

Billions cut from salaries

NHS Staff Side, made up of representatives from 13 unions, submitted its annual evidence to the review body, which advises government on health service staff pay.

The evidence claims more than £4.3bn has been cut from NHS staff salaries in England alone between 2010 and 2016 and calls for:

  • A return to UK-wide pay scales, using Scotland as reference point.
  •  A restructuring of bands 1-3 to pay the living wage.
  • A pay award in line with the retail price index for all Agenda for Change (AfC) staff.
  • A comprehensive workforce strategy.

The unions maintain the pay of NHS staff has failed to keep pace with inflation, and within 5 years the lowest paid employees will be earning less than minimum wage.

Unsustainable pay

RCN general secretary Janet Davies warned: ‘At a time when the gap in earnings between nursing staff and other graduate professions is growing, the 1% pay cap for NHS staff is unsustainable.’

NHS trade unions chair Christina McAnea said sustained government attacks on health workers' pay posed a threat to the future of AfC.

Unite national officer for health Sarah Carpenter said: ‘We must reinvest in our health service and the dedicated staff that care for us now before it is too late.’

A Department of Health spokesperson said the government had taken ‘difficult decisions’.

‘But we will continue to fund public sector pay awards, including for NHS staff, at an average of 1% next year.’

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