Health unions call for Christmas pay rise for 1.3m NHS workers

Health unions call for Christmas pay rise for 1.3m NHS workers

- in GMB, Royal College of Nursing, UNISON, Unite
NHS nurse

Trade unions representing more than 1.3m NHS workers across the UK have today written to the Prime Minister to call for a pay rise for all NHS staff before Christmas.

14 unions representing health workers in the UK have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to call for a pay rise for increasingly “stressed, burned out and fearful” NHS staff, saying that asking them to carry on regardless through the second wave of coronavirus is “increasingly unrealistic”.

The letter – signed off by British Association of Occupational Therapists, British Dietetic Association, British Orthoptic Society, CSP, College of Podiatry, Federation of Clinical Scientists, GMB, Managers in Partnership, POA, RCM, RCN, Society of Radiographers, UNISON and Unite – states that a significant pay rise this year “would help health workers feel values, by the entire country, and the government too”.

The unions also suggest that pay increase for NHS workers could persuade staff looking to leave the NHS to change their minds, as well as proving “attractive to thousands of much-needed potential NHS recruits”.

NHS workers are not due a pay rise until April 2021, but the health unions suggest now would be a good time to reward hard-working staff. The letter states: “A significant increase this year would help health workers feel valued, by the entire country, and the government too. But bringing forward the wage rise in time for Christmas would also place the NHS in a better position to face the future.  

“The pandemic has affected staff profoundly and many may not stay around when the job is done. Raising pay this year could persuade them to change their minds and prove attractive to thousands of much-needed potential NHS recruits. ”

Read the letter to the Prime Minister in full here.

UNISON head of health Sara Gorton, who also chairs the NHS group of 14 unions, added: “The NHS can’t run without its staff. They all deserve better from porters to nurses. Their dedication during the pandemic has been humbling. But no one is superhuman and many are feeling the strain. Boris Johnson must show he has a heart with a pay rise before Christmas. It will boost exhausted staff going into the second wave and help the NHS attract much-needed new recruits.”

A recent survey carried out by the Royal College of Nursing showed that 26% of NHS nurses were considering leaving their job, up from 28% of nurses before the pandemic. A parliamentary committee report commissioned in September also showed that there are 40,000 nursing vacancies throughout the UK.

Commenting on pay levels for health service workers, Hannah Reed from the Royal College of Nursing said today: “NHS staff have been underpaid for years and there has never been a more critical time for the government to address this.

“Paying staff fairly will show they’re valued and begin to turn the corner on the record nursing and wider vacancy levels.

“The NHS is facing an extremely challenging few months due to the combination of Covid-19 and winter pressures. Without urgent action on pay, vacancies across the NHS will continue to increase.”

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