The government has come under attack for failing to announce an expected pay rise for NHS staff in England.
Unions representing NHS workers had been set to react to confirmation of a 3% increase following months of delay. But health minister Helen Whately made no mention of pay during her initial speech to the House of Commons on 21 July.
The government was already under attack for recommending a 1% pay rise despite the incredible pressure NHS staff have been under because of the pandemic – a rise described as a real terms pay cut. To make up for their pay stagnating over the years, NHS workers are asking for a raise of up to 15%.
Shadow health minister Dr Rosena Allin-Khan criticised the minister for failing to announce a pay rise, saying the government’s reaction to a recommendation from the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) had “turned out to be nothing”. Unions expressed anger and dismay at the lack of a decision on pay after stepping up their campaigns in recent weeks for the overdue increase to be paid.
Rachel Harrison, national officer of the GMB, said:
This is completely outrageous – virtually the last day of Parliament and the Government has insulted hard-working NHS workers once again by staying silent. NHS workers who tuned in to watch the minister today will be rightly disgusted by this lack of respect
NHS staff have put themselves in harm’s way throughout the pandemic and, as a health union, we cannot accept MPs swanning off on holiday leaving health workers in limbo.
GMB has today written to the Prime Minister and Health Secretary to demand they intervene and set out their response on NHS pay before the summer recess.
Pat Cullen, interim general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said:
This treatment of our NHS workers is shameful. Ministers are holding them in contempt and we have no choice but to condemn this behaviour.
With tens of thousands of nursing vacancies and thousands more considering their future in the profession, the government is sending the worst possible signal with this political gameplaying.
Ministers need to stop the wrangling and come clean about the pay rise they believe NHS staff deserve. Nursing staff will only accept this pay award if it’s significant, consolidated and fully funded with additional monies.
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