Unions demand pay rise for one million NHS staff

Unions demand pay rise for one million NHS staff

Unions demand pay rise for one million NHS staff

Unions said they were breaking with tradition and submitting a claim directly to the government because the NHS pay review body, which assesses salaries every year and recommends wage rises, had been undermined due to the government's 1% cap for public sector workers.

Yesterday, it emerged that nurses and health workers had demanded a pay rise in line with the retail price index of inflation, which is 3.9 per cent - far higher than the alternative CPI inflation rate, which is 2.9 per cent.

The unions have also called for an additional £800 to restore some of the pay lost over the past seven years, which saw pay for public sector workers across the United Kingdom initially being frozen and later capped at 1%.

This morning, Unite, Unison, NIPSA and the Royal College of Nursing, collectively promised to take steps to "pursue" pay claims on behalf of health workers who, they say, have "gone without a proper rise for far too long".

The unions will formally submit the claim to the Scottish government and the NHS pay review body next week.

Pressure has already been heaped on Mr Hammond to make a generous offer to public sector workers in the Budget, with Downing Street having confirmed on Tuesday it has scrapped the 1% cap on annual pay rises.

But ministers announced this week that the policy would be axed, and police would receive a 2 per cent rise, while prison officers received 1.7 per cent.

Unison head of health Sara Gorton said: "NHS staff and their families need a pay award that stops the rot and starts to restore some of the earnings that have been missed out on".

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It comes after ministers agreed to give police officers a 1 per cent rise plus a 1 per cent bonus, with prison officers getting a 1.7 per cent rise - both funded from existing budgets.

'Their wages continue to fall behind inflation as food and fuel bills, housing and transport costs rise.

Commenting on the move by unions, the NHS Confederation, which represents health organisations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, said employers could not afford to fund salary increases themselves.

The British Medical Association has not signed the letter.

RCN general secretary Janet Davies said it is important the money to pay for the rise is found by the Treasury rather than taken from the NHS budget.

"When ministers hold pay down, it drives too many nurses out of the NHS", she explained.

"For many of our members, workforce is now their number one challenge", he said.

He added: "In line with health unions across the United Kingdom, we will asking for a pay rise in line with inflation (retail price index) and we will be attempting to recover past losses".

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