Since 2010, NHS staff have had a 15% cost of living cut to their pay; some have lost significantly more through cuts to other elements of pay.
The independent NHS Pay Review Body and the Doctors and Dentists Review Body was asked to recommend no more than 1% pay award. The NHS PRB went on to recommend the full amount possible of 1% consolidated (i.e. pensionable and integrated into all future awards).
The Secretary of State for Health replied by saying that he would only pay staff on the top of their pay spine 1% as a cash payment on their basic pay, and then to be removed at the end of the year. This means pay rates in England will be frozen to 2013 rates.
In addition the NHS PRB and the DDRB has been stood down from making a recommendation for 2015/6.
The Governments in Wales and Scotland have agreed their pay award with the Agenda for Change trade unions, including paying the Living Wage. The Government in England is refusing to enter into negotiations with health unions.
NHS workers have therefore been forced into a position of taking industrial action. The NHS staff are today, demanding talks following 2 days of strike action, action short of strike and working to rule across the country.
With a further £2bn promised by the Chancellor for the NHS for front line staff & services, trade unions representing over 1 million NHS workers are calling on the government to use some of this money to resolve the ongoing pay dispute. It is in patients’ interest to have staff who feel motivated and fairly rewarded rather than being pushed into taking industrial action because the government won’t negotiate with unions.
Without this the NHS faces more disruption into the new year and beyond.