Blog: We’re ready to talk on pay

As the prime minister promises to create “better-paid jobs”, UNISON is still waiting for him to talk to us about pay in the NHS

Christina McAnea

Starting my first blog of 2023, i’d like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all the public service workers who still went out to work during the Christmas and new year holidays.

When so many people can take time off work to be with their family and friends, you make personal sacrifices to keep the country going. I have no doubt that you do this because of your commitment to your work and to the people who rely on the services you provide.

Yesterday, the prime minister gave a speech, in which he spoke about a better future that “restores optimism, hope, and pride in Britain”.

Perhaps it’s his own realisation that his government has been dragging everyone down for the past 12 years, but he should also realise, that through it all, it’s your work that gives people hope across the whole of the UK.

You’re saving lives, helping to educate children and young people, and you’re supporting communities.

UNISON has pride in your work, and we know that your jobs are vital to creating a better future.

The prime minister also acknowledged the challenges in A&E and with NHS waiting lists, promising to create “better-paid jobs and opportunity right across the country”.

So given that we’re in the middle of a legal dispute over NHS pay, I was looking forward to hearing his plans to make NHS jobs better paid. But no such plans were announced.

We’ve been calling on the government to talk to us about pay for months. Services can’t continue when so many workers are leaving for better paid jobs elsewhere, and when services can’t continue, patients suffer.

Even after our first wave of strike action in December, the government has unreasonably refused to sit down and talk to us about improving NHS pay.

So, we’re carrying on with our industrial action in the NHS into 2023.

Our next strike days are on 11 and 23 January, and we are re-balloting areas that fell just short of the high ballot thresholds imposed by a Conservative government.

It’s not too late for them to start negotiations with us. We are ready – and we’ve been ready for months.

UNISON is taking action to make working lives better. Our purpose is, and always will be, to support working people and their families throughout their lives.

I know that, through our collectivism and activism, we can create a prosperous 2023 for our members, and a better future for all public services.