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Pay rise for NHS staff in England

UNISON members working for the NHS in England have voted overwhelmingly to accept a three year pay deal and changes to the NHS pay structure negotiated by UNISON and the other 13 NHS unions.

All 14 NHS unions have been consulting their members on pay and have today (Friday) collectively endorsed this deal which has been overwhelmingly supported by NHS staff.

UNISON members voted yes by a large margin with approximately 84% voting to accept and 16% voting against. Over 83,500 members voted in a turnout of around 30%.

UNISON led the negotiations and the Treasury agreed to find £4.2bn of new money to ensure that these pay increases do not come at the cost of jobs or patient care.

Staff, including hospital porters, 999 call handlers, healthcare assistants, nurses, midwives and others will see pay increases of 6.5% at the top of bands with more for those below- through a combination of cost of living and faster incremental increases-  over the three-year period.

The deal will also give an immediate £2,000 increase to  lower-paid staff taking them above the living wage.

Every NHS worker in England will now be paid at least £8.93 an hour (18p above the real living wage of £8.75 an hour), or £17,460 a year if they work full-time.

The deal also delivers substantial increases to starting salaries, meaningful pay rises on promotion and faster progression through most pay bands.

Although the agreement only covers the NHS in England, as health is a devolved matter, it is expected that additional funding will now be made available through the Barnett formula for health budgets in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, allowing pay negotiations to take place for health workers there.

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The issue

Healthcare staff have now sustained six years of pay restraint at great cost to their living standards, and causing great damage to their morale.

The NHS can’t go on like this. It simply isn’t right for NHS pay to be held back while the cost of living keeps rising.

Pay restraint has resulted in the equivalent annual pay cuts of £2,288 for a cleaner, £2,818 for a ward administrator, £4,846 for a nurse and £6,134 for a midwife.

The new government has a choice.

It can choose to restore the independence of the well-regarded Pay Review Body system to make the pay recommendations it believes are needed to maintain recruitment and retention at the levels the service needs.

Or it can allow the current, unsustainable staffing situation to spiral out of control.

UNISON is serious about fair pay for NHS staff, and we will not stop the fight until there is fair pay for health workers.