Row over 1% NHS pay rise continues

Healthcare workers Credit :monkeybusinessimages

The row about the proposed one per cent pay rise for NHS staff continues with Prime Minister Boris Johnson defending the amount but opponents calling it an insult.

The proposed pay rise, which will need to be agreed by an independent panel before going to Ministers this May, is the only rise for public sector workers.

Government says the impact of covid means there are financial constraints and the 1% rise is what can be afforded. Other public sector workers pay, such as for police officers, has been frozen.

But the decision has caused a backlash.

Thanet nurse and Save Our NHS in Kent campaigner Candy Gregory has accused the government of betraying health workers over pay.

The independent Thanet district councillor, who left the Labour group last year, said: “The government’s suggestion that NHS workers, after all they’ve done and gone through, should now get only 1% pay rise is a gross betrayal.

“Throughout the past year, NHS workers have worked extra shifts to cope with this government’s horrendous mismanagement of Covid-19 battling in understaffed and over capacity wards and departments with lack of effective PPE. They have seen around a thousand colleagues die and many more battle with long Covid.”

Candy says NHS workers feel betrayed: “The day after Budget day we learned that our NHS workers, whose pay had already fallen to insultingly low levels over the years, were being given a paltry 1% pay rise. Effectively another pay cut.”

Candy says the suggested pay rise is likely to have a negative impact on NHS recruitment.

She said: “This is a system already plagued with chronic staffing shortages. We have 100,000 job vacancies overall, 45,000 nursing vacancies. After this government announcement, we will now have many more wanting to give up their demanding, stressful,  financially unrewarding careers.

“We cannot afford to lose any more, at the risk of patient safety.

“Even the Royal College of Nursing not known for its militancy, is accumulating a strike fund. This is how angry people in the NHS are.”

Sir Roger Gale

North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale has also called for a rethink on the level of the rise but says it must be a fair decision made by the pay review board.

He said: “One per cent, which will be more than eroded by inflation, may be the opening shot in a pay negotiation in response to an unacceptable 12% Union demand backed up by the threat of strike action but it is most certainly not “a reward”.

“The Government must take a pace back from what has become an unseemly political football game, allow the pay review body to determine what is right and fair and just and affordable and then, under these exceptional circumstances, accept the result and foot the bill without challenge.

“The alternative by way of “reward” (in addition to a negotiated pay increase), which some have found attractive is a sizeable tax-free one-off payment.

“Unless I have grossly mis-read opinion those who have had occasion to call upon the services of the NHS during the past twelve months, and probably most of the rest of the adult population as well, believe that notwithstanding the state of the nation`s finances the promised and genuine reward for service has to be forthcoming. We must send a clear message to the NHS. We keep our promises.”

The Royal College of Nursing Council has responded to the pay increase level by setting up a £35 million industrial action fund.

A strike fund is an amount of money that can be used to support workers, who are members of a trade union, to provide some compensation for loss of earnings and campaigning during industrial action.

RCN Council says it is determined to have the finances available to members should they wish to take industrial action.

PM Boris Johnson said there is gratitude for those in the nursing profession and that there are 10,000 more nurses this year than there were last year with recruitment figures rising.


    • Sleepy Barry, not all of the NHS have been working flat out with many areas closed or reduced services, lets not get carried away.

      Currently almost half the NHS’s budget goes on staffing costs – a total of £56.1bn. So a 1% pay increase across the board would equate to more than £500m a year.

      1% on top of the previously agreed pay rise and regular increments. This is in addition to job security and a reasonable pension. Why do public sector workers expect a rise every single year? No one else gets this.

      By the way, my partner works in the NHS and so do my kids.

      Barry, comments like yours, is precisely why the Tories won a landslide at the GE and will at the county council ones. And you still wonder why you and your party are no longer popular.

  1. There is no row, really. Everyone other than the tory government (and only some of them) think that our health workers should be repaid for their selfless sacrifice with a small round of applause.
    But the tories have form.
    Just over a year ago they cheered and jeered when a bill to increase NHS pay was defeated in the Commons.

    • No one should get a pay rise until all can. And not all people get the benefits that nurses get, by the way how much does a nurse get per year. Lots of people deserve but can’t have.

        • That’s possibly a senior nurse with many years experience. Look at the agenda for change pay rates. The reality is far from what you’ve quoted & you are merely perpetuating a distorted lie

      • Having seen your previous posts in other threads I’m surprised ABC to find out you are a communist/socialist.

        Equal pay for all.

        Whilst I admire your view point for a fair and equal pay for all in society. If a little unworkable. I feel in this instance paying those that have been on the frontline in a pandemic less than inflation and thus effective getting a pay cut is a little harsh even if “all” cannot have the same.

        *please note I realise you are not a socialist.

    • Hang on, wasn’t Johnson swanning around the country in a bus during the referendum to leave the EU in a bus displayed on it saying if we leave the EU it would save the NHS £350 million a week? Well, we left the EU over a year ago, so why can’t the nurses get a decent pay rise from this money, or was this another Johnson porky pie?

  2. Please note I didn’t say equal pay I said no pay rises until it’s possible to give all a pay rise.

  3. Why exactly should the NHS workers get a pay rise when other front line vital workers such as those working in care homes & in supermarkets who also kept us going during the pandemic at huge risk to themselves are either getting pay freezes, or in the case of the latter often sacked as Asda etc now announce huge staff cuts?

    Why also when we only heard yesterday that the extremely arrogant East Kent Trust which has refused to implement changes to Maternity for several years despite all the recommendations after insepctions have now been caught lying? How many people all over the country have been left to die without the care they needed for cancer, even just to get a scan in many cases? How many people were killed or seriously harmed by the NHS all over the country who due to their incompetence decided to put anybody with a temperature &/or a cough onto a Covid ward-thus infecting many high risk patients with a killer virus & making the NHS crisis far worse as they were then overrun with the patients they had needlessly infected?

  4. They are doing a job they choose to do, and 1% is better than 0%, don’t see why i would want to clap on Thursday just cos they want more $$

  5. Even Roger Gale admits that the 1% will be eroded by inflation before the year is out!
    What many don’t understand is that NHS workers were hit with a pay freeze for 8 years from 2010-2018 and during that time the cost of living kept rising, so most nurses have effectively had a pay cut in real terms. For example, 47% of nurses are at the top of Band D, and due to frozen pay, they have effectively suffered a loss of £6000 per year [they were £6000 a year better off in 2010 in real terms]. Other nurses were £3000 a year better off in 2010 in real terms.
    NHS workers are not the only ones whose pay has fallen behind the cost of living, and redressing pay across the board is necessary. Government can only directly alter pay for the public sector of course, but they can indirectly influence pay in the private sector by setting an example, devising incentives, and stimulating the economy. Improving wages for workers stimulates the economy a great deal, as those with more money in their pockets tend to go out and spend it on local businesses, improving revenues which in turn allows those employers to give pay rises to their employees. Think of Thanet specifically: 2,000 people work at QEQM. If a large amount of them who are currently struggling get a pay boost, they will be able to do the things they have been abstaining from – going to a cafe, resaturant, cinema (post-pandemic restrictions); getting a plumber in; other house maintenance and decoration; go to an exercise or yoga class; buying new clothes, small luxuries and gifts in local shops etc. Money would be flushed into our local economy and benefit many.
    Another sector where pay is very bad is care work, and we know how tough it has been for those workers during the pandemic. How to encourage better pay for those workers is something that the government should be thinking about. The most effective method would be to bring social care entirely into the public sector and have a National Care Service that has the same standards as the NHS, but as that is unlikely to happen under this govt, another solution might be to reinstate the nursing bursary (axed by Jeremy Hunt) and make it free and as easy as possible for people to train as nurses and HCAs. If the transition from private care worker to NHS nurse or HCA was made easier, the private care employers would have to start paying their employees better in order to keep them; and at the same time the nursing shortage would be alleviated. Subsidies could be considered for the care sector if needed. These are just examples – there are many ways to incentivise and stimulate, but right now our leaders seem unwilling to put money where it will do some good, which is a real shame.
    Another important thing to mention is the fiscal multiplier. The NHS has a fiscal multiplier of between 3% and 5%. That means that for every £1 of public money spent on the NHS, it actually increases our national wealth by somewhere between £3 and £5. Money spent on the NHS is ‘lost’; it’s an investment that makes us all richer. Keeping our workforce healthy boosts our economy. We have to start viewing it as it really is – spending on the NHS is a dead cert in terms of growing our overall wealth.

  6. Its called the “Trickle Up” effect Carly, it means giving more money to people at the bottom, and they will spend it, therefore creating more work for businesses, and industry! This is what Joe Biden has done, the USA has just passed a Bill giving 1.9 billion dollars to the poorest people in America, to stimulate the flagging economy! This is the complete opposite to the Tory idea of the “Trickle Down” effect, that means giving tax cuts to the rich, so they spend more. But in most cases they spend it on luxury goods, 2nd or 3rd homes, antiques etc! You won’t see any of them going to Food banks!

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