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6.5% pay rise agreed for NHS staff

Published on 08/06/18 at 12:29pm

After years of receiving only a 1% annual pay rise, NHS staff have voted to accept a 6.5% pay offer increase from the government.

The new rise in pay has been agreed for the next three years, after 13 unions agreed to the deal.

It means the UK government will have to find £4.2 billion in order to pay staff members, although it should be added that the unions argue that staff pay has been held back by 15% since the pay rise caps were first introduced in 2010.

Lead negotiator and UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said the agreement “won’t solve all the NHS’s problems overnight, but it will go a long way towards easing the financial strain suffered by health staff and their families over many years. The lifting of the damaging 1% cap on pay will come as a huge relief for all the employers who’ve struggled for so long to attract new recruits and hold onto experienced staff. But this three-year pay deal must not be a one off. Health workers will want to know that ministers are committed to decent wage rises across the NHS for the long term, and that this isn’t just a quick fix.”

Gorton continued, “Now the government has begun to put right the damage inflicted by its mean-spirited pay policies, staff will be hoping ministers announce an injection of cash for NHS services in time for its 70th birthday next month.”

Clearly it will be some time before the Government can repay the damage it has done to its reputation with the unions, as the labelling of the pay cap as being “mean-spirited” indicates.

One union actually rejected the proposals, which was GMB – after it claimed that the pay rise would actually mean a pay cut for its members who voted by 87% against the offer.

Kevin Brandstatter, GMB National Officer, said: "Jeremy Hunt's promise of jam tomorrow is simply not good enough for NHS workers who. During the past eight years, our members in the health service have faced the biggest pay pinch in living memory. GMB recommended that our members in NHS and Ambulance Trusts reject it, and they have done so unequivocally.

“Since 2010, paramedics have lost an average of over £14,000, midwives £18,000 and staff nurses £14,500. The offer won’t allow them to claw any of that cash back – in fact, for longer serving, most loyal NHS workers the 6.5% increase over three years actually means a real terms pay cut, doesn’t put things right and continues to punish those who have endured the pinch on pay.”

Ben Hargreaves

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