UNISON is today (Friday) calling on the government to enable the NHS to pay the living wage and lift almost 80,000 health employees out of poverty.
Ahead of the Living Wage Foundation’s living wage week, UNISON has published an analysis that reveals most workers on the lowest pay bands such as catering assistants, porters, cleaners and pharmacy assistants, in England are paid below the minimum recommended.
The new rates are due to be announced next week. They are currently £9.75 an hour in London and £8.45 in the rest of the UK.
Wales and Scotland already pay living wage rates, leaving those in England and Northern Ireland the worse paid in the health service.
UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said: “Poverty pay should have no place in the NHS. Cleaners, catering assistants and porters play a key role in the wider health team, which couldn’t function without them. Their work and dedication needs to be recognised.
“It’s high time the government addressed pay in the NHS. Ensuring no one is paid below the living wage would not only lift employees out of poverty, it would also improve recruitment and retention.
“The Chancellor must come up with the cash in the Budget to fund a decent, above inflation, pay rise for all public service workers.”
Notes to editors
Source: NHS Digital records