NHS staff deserve fair pay

UNISON calls on government to fund a proper NHS pay rise

UNISON’s Pay Up Now! campaign has been putting pressure on government to make more money available for an immediate pay rise for all NHS staff – whatever job they do.

Because a pat on the back is simply not enough. It’s time for a proper pay rise. We know that, NHS staff know that and the public agrees.

That is why UNISON broke with tradition this year and submitted a pay claim directly to the government on behalf of more than one million health workers across the UK.

Working with the other NHS trade unions, UNISON wrote to the Chancellor Philip Hammond, urging  him to earmark funds in the November Budget for a pay rise in line with inflation. The claim also calls for an additional £800 payment per individual, to restore some of the pay lost over the past seven years.

The Chancellor has now said in his Budget that additional money could be made available to fund pay ‘modernisation.’ UNISON is saying come and talk to us about what this means, and about our proposals for a better NHS pay structure.

We want to:

  1. Make it quicker and easier to get to the top of the Band and earn the full rate for the job
  2. Improve the pay structure for those on the lowest pay
  3. Remove the overlaps between pay bands to increase the starting rate for the job.

But we will not accept NHS staff funding their own pay rise through cuts to their terms and conditions.

Thousands of UNISON members completed our NHS pay survey, so we know that 98% of NHS staff support UNISON’s claim for a pay rise in line with inflation, as well as a sum of money to start to make up earnings lost to the pay cap.

Nearly 8 out of 10 of NHS staff said a proper pay rise would boost their morale at work and 7 out of 10 said it would ease financial worries.

We base what we say to employers, MPs, and the Pay Review Body on stories of NHS staff, because they are the stories that matter. Discussions on pay are ongoing as we continue through this review period, so we will be contacting UNISON members to ask more questions.

NHS staff pay matters, and it’s time for the government to Pay Up Now!


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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.