'NHS staff have been waiting too long' for proper pay rise

NHS Pay Review Body recommendation delay helps ministers ‘desperate’ to avoid ‘unpopular’ one per cent pay issue

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An expected six-week delay to the NHS Pay Review Body’s (NHSPRB) 2021 recommendations to the government will help ministers who are ‘desperate’ to avoid attention over their ‘unpopular’ one per cent pay offer to health service staff, Unite said today (March 23).

While presenting evidence to the NHSPRB on health sector pay today, Unite was told by the body that it would give its recommendations to the government in mid-June. The union was also told that it would then be up to the government to decide when to make the NHSPRB recommendations public.

In a letter to the NHSPRB in December 2020, secretary of state for health Matt Hancock said he expected the body’s report in early May.

The expected six-week delay means the government’s final decision on NHS pay for 2021/2022 will not be made until at least two months after any deal is supposed to be implemented.

Unite national officer for health, Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe, said, “It is now a year to the day since the first lockdown began and since then NHS staff have gone to extraordinary lengths to keep us safe and well.

“Unfortunately, the government’s insulting one per cent pay offer shows just how much it values health service workers,” he added. “Ministers know how unpopular that offer is with the public and will be desperate to find a way to kick the issue into the long grass.

“Unite calls on the NHSPRB to complete and issue its report as soon as possible. Ministers cannot be allowed to use a delay in receiving the report to sit on it for even longer in an effort to sweep the issue of NHS pay under the carpet.

“NHS staff have been waiting too long to be rewarded with a decent pay rise that reflects their hard work and sacrifice during the pandemic,” Jarrett-Thorpe continued. “The government needs to do the right thing and offer a rise that reflects their level of service.

“We, alongside sister unions and other stakeholders, will continue to campaign for a decent pay increase for NHS workers. This includes pressing forward our claim of a £3,000 or 15 per cent increase for NHS staff and NHS workers employed by commercial organisations. All options remain on the table, should the government not award NHS workers fairly.”

By Ryan Fletcher

Pic by Mark Thomas

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