GMB Warn That Unless Government Increase Pay Offer NHS Faces More Disruption Into The New Year And Beyond

NHS staff are demanding talks following 2 days of strike action and action short of strike and working to rule across the country says GMB

GMB and other NHS unions issued a joint statement in the dispute in the NHS over pay to coincide with a photo call at HM Treasury before the Autumn Statement on 3rd December. (see text below)

GMB members took part in the strike action in the NHS across England & Northern Ireland on 13th October and 24th November to demand that the Secretary of State for Health stop burying his head in Whitehall and meet with GMB and all health unions to resolve the dispute.

The four-hour stoppages were followed by action short of a strike for the rest of both weeks with an overtime ban in the ambulance service and other NHS employees working to their contracted hours.

GMB conducted an official ballot of 22,000 members in the NHS in England and Northern Ireland. There was overwhelming support for industrial action against the government and employers’ pay policies.

The pay offer for NHS staff in England is an unconsolidated 1% pay award in 2014, restricted to staff not eligible for incremental progression and the same approach in 2015. This goes against the recommendation of the independent NHS Pay Review Body for a 1% consolidated pay rise for all staff.

This is the text of the joint statement: “Since 2010, NHS staff have had a 15% cost of living cut to the value of their pay; some have lost significantly more through cuts to other elements of pay.

The independent NHS Pay Review Body and the Doctors and Dentists Review Body were asked by government to recommend no more than 1% pay award. The NHS PRB went on to recommend just as government requested:  1% consolidated (i.e. pensionable and integrated into all future awards).

The Secretary of State for Health replied by saying that he would only pay staff on the top of their pay spine 1% as a cash payment on their basic pay, and then to be removed at the end of the year. This means pay rates in England will be frozen to 2013 rates.

In addition the NHS PRB and the DDRB have been stood down from making a recommendation for 2015/6.

The Governments in Wales and Scotland have agreed their pay awards with the Agenda for Change trade unions, including paying the Living Wage. The Government in England is refusing to enter into negotiations with health unions.

NHS workers have therefore been forced into a position of taking industrial action. The NHS staff are today, demanding talks following 2 days of strike action, action short of strike and working to rule across the country.

With a further £2bn promised by the Chancellor for the NHS for front line staff & services, trade unions representing over 1 million NHS workers are calling on the government to use some of this money to resolve the ongoing pay dispute. It is in patients’ interest to have staff who feel motivated and fairly rewarded rather than being pushed into taking industrial action because the government won’t negotiate with unions.

Without this the NHS faces more disruption into the new year and beyond.”