Letter to Editor: Concerns over cuts in pay for NHS staff
General / Thu 21st Jul 2022 at 07:40am
A NEW analysis of NHS pay commissioned by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) published yesterday (19 July) highlights real terms pay cuts for nurses and paramedics of £1,100 and £1,500 respectively for this year. These figures include the latest government imposed pay increase.
This is not a new phenomenon and the TUC says that key workers in the NHS have already endured a “brutal decade” of pay cuts and pay freezes which show that Nurses’ real pay is still down £4,300 when compared to 2010. Other real pay cuts include Porters’ down by £1,300, Maternity care assistants’ by £3,200 and Paramedics’ down by £5,600 compared to 2010.
The TUC says that stagnant wages have played a major role in the “crippling staff shortages” that vital NHS services are facing.
Commenting on these figures TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Our amazing NHS workers put their lives on the line to get us through the pandemic. This is no way to repay that service.”
She added: “Ministers should be giving nurses and other NHS staff the fair pay rise they have earned – not driving them towards foodbanks. This is a government that is happy for City bonuses to go through the roof. But it won’t lift a finger to help ordinary workers make a decent living.”
Meanwhile, the Government says the workers must take the pain to keep inflation under control. However, not all economists agree with that simple notion. Unite the Union research published in June this year says: “The weight of evidence shows that the UK is in the grip of a profiteering crisis. Workers’ wages and what they can buy, are being squeezed by corporate wreckers pursuing runaway profits, quite literally at our expense.”
Unite’s report exposes the truth: “It’s not hard pressed workers who are driving inflation, it’s whole swathes of corporate Britain. In the last six months company profits were responsible for almost 60% of inflation.”
Unite’s research was based on methodology created by economist Josh Bivens of the Washington-based think-tank Economic Policy Institute. Bivens’ analysis published in April this year showed profiteering in the USA’s non-financial corporate sector accounted for 53.9% of price rises. The cost of labour only contributed less than 8% to increases.
This is not normal for the United States. From 1979 to 2019, profits only contributed about 11% to price growth and labour costs over 60%. Unite’s figures are remarkably close to Bivens’ report and the union’s research and conclusions were scrutinized by Professor Alexander Guschanski of Greenwich University.
The problem with the NHS is simple. They have no focus on their core service. When trusts think they can spend 100k salaries on diversity officers when the core services are failing tells you all you need to know. Who will be brave enough to sort out the mess though. Lots of professionals in the service only stay in their jobs because they feel they would be letting people down if they left( its a vocation, and not just a job). Also why do governments think building new hospitals and refitting the old is going to improve anything, when its the people working int he hospital that make the difference. As an example I have been visiting St Bart’s for the last 10 years( cancer treatment and follow ups) in that time they have transformed the hospital with refurbishments, but there has been zero change to the service. When I go now I get to wait in a shinny room now instead of a drab corridor. Makes no difference to my treatment, which has been excellent. They could have used some of that money to pay the staff better, or hired more staff to reduce the wait times, which can be up to 4 hrs after your appointment time.
It's twelve years of 'tax cuts' by this government at the expense of the public sector. like or not elaboration on the why's and wherefores, missing the elephant in the room, will not sway the public from realising that we need a better way. Not lies, more lies and statistics. Give over the lies about needing a new hospital. The cost of living crisis has hit hard Nurses are leaving PAH is swathes. Teachers and staff are learning their roles is swathes. Something needs to change and I have not faith in this government to make that happen.
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