NHS staff deserve fair pay

Earnings max – break the pay cap

Following yet another 1% pay award this year, UNISON conducted a branch consultation on how best to respond and where to focus our efforts.

Based on what members told us we will be pursuing an “Earnings max” strategy. This involves working to deliver immediate improvements to members’ earnings, while building support to break the government’s pay cap in the NHS.

We will intensify our campaign for an end to the 1% cap, highlighting why it is unfair to staff and bad for NHS patients. This is always at the top of our agenda when we meet ministers, politicians, employers and other unions.

But we will not end the pay cap overnight. To improve members’ earnings right now we will run campaigns such as fighting down-banding, improving Bank pay, and winning the living wage.

Make sure your branch gets involved – speak to your local stewards and branch officials for more information.

Building the campaign – across all NHS trade unions

UNISON is the largest union in the NHS, and we have a clear strategy to deliver campaigns that make a real difference to the earnings of our members.

From our experience of leading pay disputes in the past, we know that action is most effective when we coordinate with other organisations. UNISON will work to get support within all NHS Trade Unions for an effective challenge to the Government’s pay policy, including considering coordinated ballots for industrial action.

Working together, the NHS unions have already called for a government summit on NHS pay this summer to plan how to end the pay cap and return NHS pay to a sustainable position.

Look out for more information about this after the General Election.

In the meantime – make sure you ask anyone who wants your vote what their plans are for NHS pay.

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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.

Resources

Resources