How recent pay deals affect staff at private contractors

Fighting for fair pay for private contractors in health and local government

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At UNISON, we know that many members deliver public services but are employed by private contractors. If that’s you, you may be wondering how recent pay deals for the sector you work in will affect you.

Be assured, UNISON negotiators have not forgotten you. We are fighting to get you the same benefits as your colleagues in the private sector. Read on for the latest update on pay for health workers and local government workers.

Health workers pay update

UNISON has recently negotiated with the government to get a new three year pay deal in the NHS in England.

UNISON members working for the NHS in England voted overwhelmingly to accept the three year pay deal and it was ratified at the NHS Staff Council on 27 June.

UNISON led the negotiations on a deal for England that sees a pay uplift of at least 6.5% over three years at the top of bands, with more for those below.

The deal brings all low paid workers up to at least the real living wage. UNISON fought for an end to the damaging 1% cap and the Treasury has agreed to find £4.2bn of new money to fund the new deal. More detailed information can be found here.

In Scotland, an offer has been made and Scottish members are currently voting on whether to accept the deal. More information can be found here. In Scotland the offer states that “this deal will also apply to private contractor staff covered by the Scottish Two Tier agreement”.

Over the upcoming months we will see pay negotiations taking place for NHS workers in Wales and Northern Ireland.

However, we are aware that for members working in wholly owned subsidiaries, private employers or social enterprises, pay is often more complicated. Some of our members will be contractually entitled to the uplift, whereas others may have different bargaining structures.

UNISON will argue that the new deal should be implemented across all outsourced contracts and call for the appropriate funding from employers.

In July, private contractor reps, heath activists, and regional and service group delegations will meet to discuss how we move our campaign forward.

We will also be holding regional briefings, ensuring further discussion and coordination across all levels of our union.

Local government workers pay update

In local government, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, a new pay deal will also be implemented locally.

Earlier in the year local government employers made a two year pay offer for council, school, academy and other staff on NJC pay scales.

Following extensive consultation with members, the UNISON NJC committee decided to accept the offer which sees  an increase of 2% at the highest salary points, with higher percentage increases for those lower down the scale.

More detailed information can be found here.

As in health, UNISON will be campaigning for the NJC pay deal to be honoured for all contracted out staff.

For more information or to get involved in local campaigns please contact your region or your branch.

We are also aware that many workers in private contractors have pay arrangements that aren’t linked to national health or local government deals.

If you are interested in finding out more about any aspect of pay in outsourced contractors please contact your region or email