REJECT NHS PAY OFFER
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Reject the Smoke and Mirrors Pay Offer
While Jeremy Hunt proudly endorsed the latest pay offer for NHS staff, the headline figure of 6.5% is not all it seems.
In reality the pay award will be stretched out over three years, with staff receiving a 3% increase this year followed by up to 1.7% in the two years after. While this is a move away from the 0-1% awards of the last 7 years, it is ultimately still a pay cut given inflation of 9.6% over the same period.
It has been reported that some staff will receive up to 29% increases, however this figure is including incremental progression. Increments are paid as staff progress towards to going rate for the job. We cannot swallow the employers rhetoric around increments. They are a recognition of accumulated experience and do not apply to the majority of staff. 52% are already at the top of their band so will not benefit from accelerated increments.
Further, staff will be held on increments for longer, 2-3 years. Rather than automatic, progression will be subject to performance. In the context of massive cuts to training budgets, staff are having to fund their own professional development in many cases. Therefore what is being packaged as a good deal for new starters may end up being the opposite. It is highly likely that staff will be held back down on the pay spine because their employers are not investing in training.
Beyond the positive spin, the offer does nothing to claw back the 14% real terms losses NHS workers have endured since 2010. While some union leaders have suggested the offer should be seen as a springboard to doing that, in fact it ties NHS staff into a three year package of continued wage suppression.
Union negotiators claim to have secured an additional £4bn funding for this offer. Clearly the government are on a the back foot. However accepting this offer is accepting continued pay restraint.
Workers across health unions must send a clear message to the government. Reject.
Jacqui Berry UNISON National Executive Committee (pc)
Danielle Tiplady Royal College of Nursing (pc)
Mark Boothroyd UNITE Health National Industrial Sector Committee, Branch Secretary (pc)
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