Letter to Editor: On proposed pay increase for NHS staff

News / Fri 23rd Mar 2018 at 12:51pm

Letter to Editor: On proposed pay increase for NHS staff

By Waida Foreman

Unison PAH Branch Secretary”


“It was announced that NHS workers are receiving a pay rise of 6.5% spread over the next three years. In reality, this increase fails to address seven consecutive years of pay cuts.

Since 2010 NHS staff have been supplied heated to four years of zero increase and then to date measly below inflation pay increases of 1%. Now the government is offering 3% this year, 2% in 2019 and 1% in 2020.

The Retail Price Index today is 3.6% and with Brexit looming who knows what inflation will be? This pay rise is a pay cut for NHS staff as it does not even match current inflation.

The government uses the Agenda For Change pay banding increments to show that NHS staff receive a pay rise every year, but what they don’t tell you is that once staff reach the top of their pay band there are no more increments, so no extra money.

The damage inflicted on the living standards of NHS staff by the Government’s pay freezes and 1% caps has been underlined by new figures, which show the average health worker has had a real terms cut of almost £2,000 over the past seven years. It has been calculated that these staff have seen a 14% drop in real-terms income since 2011.

There are a lot of NHS staff who are on the lowest pay band. Will this pay rise help them in the longer term or is this just a short term fix? Already a lot of staff are working hard for very little money, some even have to work 2 jobs or do extra hours to make ends meet.

Based on band 2 pay of £15,404, the first year of 3% rise means that someone on the lowest band will earn £8.88 extra per week. The second year with 2% will be a rise of £6.10 per week and the third year with 1% rise will be 2.10 per week. How does this help those on lowest pay?

Whilst the majority of unions are recommending acceptance of the deal, the GMB union has rejected it. GMB national officer Kevin Brandstatter said the deal promised “jam tomorrow” and did not do enough to make up for the squeeze on pay since 2010.

The considerable advantage of keeping NHS pay off the political agenda for the next 3 years, giving the Tories much needed extra bandwidth for Brexit, has been bargained away for little in return.

It’s not just pay that is the problem. Unfilled staff vacancies and increasing patient numbers have created stressful working conditions that are driving NHS staff to leave in growing numbers. Only one in six workers cite pay as a primary reason to leave.

NHS workers deserve a pay rise which reflects past sacrifices and this offer does little to reward those sacrifices.”

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6 Comments for Letter to Editor: On proposed pay increase for NHS staff:

2018-03-23 14:00:06

Is someone trying to increase her profile now she is on the list for Labour parliamentary candidate? Perish the thought...

m ingall
2018-03-23 18:17:00

Actually Mr Ferret, as a Union representative working in the NHS, Waida Foreman has worked for years representing hardworking, underpaid NHS workers. Don't try and avoid the issue, NHS staff have had their real terms pay cut year on year for a decade, the result is a chronic shortage of staff endangering patient welfare. 6% over three years does nothing to address this problem as, given inflation, it is not a real terms pay rise at all. You can't trust the Tories with the NHS

2018-03-23 18:41:18

Actually Reverse, Waida is a voice from the frontline of our cherished health service raising issues that the rest of us, and politicians in particular, need to listen to if we are to keep the NHS for future generations. Listen up.

2018-03-24 07:51:28

The current RPI is 2.7 It would be nice if people quoted true facts. No wage increase, does not mean a pay cut !

2018-03-24 16:04:46

The Tories have always had an ideology of crushing the poor and selling off public services for their pals in the 1%. This zealotry has gone unchecked for too long but the tide is beginning to turn. People are seeing their essential services cut and not replaced or being force fed inferior replacements from Tory donors and are now getting angry and getting mobilised. The generation coming through think differently and are not swayed by billionaire newspaper moguls. These are the future of voting in this country and change is coming.

2018-03-24 21:29:24

@MickyB77 I think you are confusing RPI with CPI. Current RPI is 3.6% and CPI is 2.7%. Both are likely to rise with prospect of trade wars kicking off, so the offer of 6.5% spread over 3 years isn't really that exciting. Our NHS staff are worth so much more than this.

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