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Union fury over ‘frankly appalling’ NHS pay offer

AFTER a day of confusion and months of delay, the Tory government finally announced its pay rise for NHS staff today — a 3 per cent increase which still falls far short of unions’ demands.

The GMB union said the government had failed spectacularly with its much-delayed and “frankly appalling” offer.

Following the NHS pay review body’s long-awaited report to the government, Health Minister Helen Whately had earlier caused widespread anger by making no mention of the issue in her initial speech to the Commons.

However, shortly before the Morning Star went to press, Health Secretary Sajid Javid eventually confirmed that NHS staff including nurses, paramedics, consultants, and dentists in England would receive a 3 per cent rise backdated to April.

“NHS staff are rightly receiving a pay rise this year, despite the wider public-sector pay pause, in recognition of their extraordinary efforts,” Mr Javid said.

“We asked the independent pay review bodies for their recommendations and I’m pleased to accept them in full, with a 3 per cent pay rise for all staff in scope, from doctors and nurses to paramedics and porters.”

GMB national officer Rachel Harrison said: “NHS staff are on their knees – exhausted, fatigued and anxious – as we look set to enter another wave of the Covid pandemic. Staff morale is rock bottom. …

“Now, rather than focusing on staff welfare, they are being advised to enter the workplace against self-isolation advice — and now given this frankly appalling pay offer. 

“This was the opportunity for government to turn their clapping into genuine recognition. Their response is paltry. 

“They have failed spectacularly. NHS workers know their worth and so do the public — shame on the government, who don’t.”

Unison general secretary Christina McAnea noted that it was an improvement on the previous 1 per cent offer, but said it falls short of what NHS staff deserve after the past 16 months and that it is less than the wage rise given to Scottish health colleagues.

In May, health workers in Scotland accepted a pay rise from the Edinburgh government worth at least 4 per cent for most staff.

Many unions have demanded a restorative wage increase of at least 12 per cent across Britain after a decade of austerity left workers and services badly exposed to the Covid-19 crisis.


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