Health workers to decide whether to take NHS wage offer or risk lengthy pay review body wait 

Consultation on one-off payment plus pay rise begins today

A pay consultation involving 280,000 health workers across England, who belong to UNISON, opens today (Tuesday).

During the consultation exercise, UNISON is encouraging NHS staff to accept the offer, which resulted from pay talks held with unions, employers and ministers earlier this month. The vote closes on Friday 14 April.

The offer covers two pay years – a one-off amount for 2022/23 and a 5% wage rise (10.4% for the lowest paid) for 2023/24.

The non-consolidated payment for this year is worth between £1,655 and £3,789 to health workers in England. This is equal to 8.2% for the lowest paid and around 6% for nurses, midwives and other colleagues on band 5 of Agenda for Change. It’s in addition to the £1,400 NHS staff received for 2022/23 last September.

The 2023/24 wage rise is worth at least £1,065 and would raise the lowest hourly rate in the NHS in England to £11.45 an hour, or £22,383 a year.

Commenting on the pay consultation, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said: “After months of the government refusing to discuss pay, strike action by health workers was successful in getting unions into the room for talks. Following days of tough negotiations, there’s now an offer to consider.

“It’s more than ministers ever wanted to invest in pay this year or next, though not as much as health workers deserve.

“The offer is the best to be achieved through negotiation. It gives NHS staff an alternative to losing more pay through strike action. That’s why UNISON is recommending health workers accept.

“But unlike the usual NHS pay rise, which is implemented regardless of staff views, this offer is conditional. Health workers will only get the lump sum if their unions vote to accept.

“A vote to reject would likely see the one-off payment disappear and leave NHS staff waiting for the uncertain outcome of the pay review body.  The government has told the review body it could only afford 3.5%, so that’s a risk.

“Rejecting the offer would see the union press ahead with further ballots and strikes. Our judgement is that there’s more on the table now than health workers would get from the lengthy pay review body process. But health workers must look at what the offer means for them and make their own decision.”

Note to editors: 
– Around 32,000 UNISON members (in ambulance services, the National Blood and Transplant Service, the National Institute for Clinical Excellence and a range of hospitals) are currently covered by a strike mandate.
– UNISON isn’t consulting its members over separate proposals looking at the feasibility of a separate pay spine for nurses. UNISON and all but one of the health unions are opposed to such a move, which could herald the end of Agenda for Change and national pay bargaining.
– The result of the pay consultation will be revealed at the union’s annual health conference, which takes place in Bournemouth from 17-19 April.
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.

Media contacts:
Liz Chinchen M: 07778 158175 E:
Anthony Barnes M: 07834 864794 E: