As the European Elections start to make many of the political headlines, we here at the HCSA are still angry about the Government’s decision to ignore the Doctors and Dentists Pay Review Body recommendations, which if implemented would have given all our members a 1% pay increase, as well as the incremental progression expected. But this is not just about pay, as this continual drive to attack doctors is having a major effect on morale, which is reaching rock bottom. It’s also about recruiting and retaining a quality workforce.
I attended the TUC General Council meeting last month and following the report from the TUC General Secretary, a detailed discussion on pay ensued. We discussed issues around the economy and soon moved onto the issue of public sector pay. Union after union from those in the fire service to education, local government to health were pressing home the point that those who give their commitment to public service are angry at this years low pay award of around 1%. As a consequence many public sector unions either have or are about to launch consultative ballots.
As we went around the table filled with many well known trade union leaders, I raised my hand to join the debate. The fact is, I said, that whilst many public sector workers would get 1%, many hospital consultants and specialists would see no increase at all. The pay award for our members I explained was that those at the top of the pay scales earning the highest salaries will get a derisory non-consolidated 1% award just for this year; it gets taken back after 12 months whilst the majority of those reaching for the top get nothing. The Government view these members are in "incremental progression" even though they will receive no monetary increment, and this “incremental progression” lasts for a period of five years. The Government is of the view that when the next threshold is reached the incremental payment received at this point should then be averaged out over those barren years, and that’s like having an increment, even though there is no extra pay in the pay packet.
Quite frankly it’s a nonsensical pay award for our members. I told the General Council that our members were justifiably angry at the derisory award. So what were we going to do about it, how would we demonstrate that frustration that yet again it was another year of zero pay uplift? I was able to say that at our Council meeting on the 25th April, members debated the issue at length. We decided that we would conduct a pay survey, followed by a full consultative ballot of our members. This we believe will give voice to the great concerns our members have at the present time.
After the General Council meeting a number of key public sector union leaders spoke to me about our position, supporting our stance and looking forward to working together with us. Watch this space for more information.
Below are a couple of the comments our members made when asked for a comment on the pay award:
“This recent ministerial rejection for the recommended pay rise may worsen the existing poor morale among NHS workers. Such decisions do not strengthen the foundations of public services but rather weaken the commitment made by millions of NHS workers.”
“It’s frankly outrageous that the recommendation of the DDRB is being ignored.”
For more information you can read FAQs on NHS Pay Award 2014-2015