Jane Bates: A fly's eye view of the NHS pay rise talks 

Fancy being an eavesdropper when the proposed salary hikes were devised? Jane Bates takes you there...
Fly on the wall

Fancy being an eavesdropper when the proposed salary hikes were devised?

The fly on the wall rubs its back legs together and performs a little shimmy. ‘Human beings, eh?’ it says to itself. ‘Just take these Treasury people.’ Then it settles down to listen.

‘Let’s offer them 6.5%,’ says one. ‘It sounds generous and those NHS workers are too ground down and exhausted to figure out that, over three years, it hardly gives them a rise at all. They are so busy being do-gooders they won’t understand about inflation.’

‘We need to remind them they are lucky to get anything,’ says Philip. ‘Dock them a day’s holiday.’

‘We tried that, Philip, remember? But someone did the maths,’ says someone else. ‘I know – let’s stop them from having meal breaks. That’ll teach them!’

‘But they’re too busy to take meal breaks,