NHS staff demand a 3.9% pay rise

More than one million NHS workers have demanded an inflation-busting pay rise as pressure mounts on ministers to abandon the public sector pay cap altogether.

Leaders of 14 health unions have written to Philip Hammond to demand staff get a 3.9 per cent hike and an £800 bonus in a which would cost around £2.5billion.

The move piles further pressure on the Government to scrap the one per cent pay cap, which they have already abandoned for police and prison officers.

Unions including Unison, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives were among those which backed the letter.

Sara Gorton, Unison’s head of health, said: ‘Health workers have gone without a proper pay rise for far too long.’

Nurses, pictured outside Parliament last week at a protest demanding an end to the public sector pay cap, have now submitted a demand for a 3.9% pay rise. The hike, which  union leaders are demanding for all  NHS staff, would cost around £2.5billion.

She added: ‘Their wages continue to fall behind inflation as food and fuel bills, housing and transport costs rise.

‘NHS staff and their families need a pay award that stops the rot and starts to restore some of the earnings that have been missed out on.’

She said a pay rise will make it easier for struggling hospitals to attract new staff, adding: ‘Continuing with the pay cap will further damage services, and that affects us all.’ 

The 3.9 per cent pay demand is far higher than the CPI rate of inflation, which is 2.9 per cent, according to the Office for National Statistics.  

Royal College of Nursing general secretary Janet Davies said: ‘If the Government gives nurses the same deal as the police, it would still be a real-terms pay cut.

‘Nursing staff must be given a pay rise that matches inflation, with an additional consolidated lump sum that begins to make up for the years of lost pay.

‘When the next pay review body process begins, the Government must allow it to be truly independent and able to recommend a meaningful increase that helps hardworking staff with the cost of living.

‘It must be fully-funded and not force the NHS to cut services or jobs to pay for it.’

Unions are asking the Chancellor set aside £2.5bn in his November budget to foot the bill for the pay demand. 

The Government signalled an easing of the pay cap on Tuesday by announcing a two per cent rise for the police and 1.7 per cent for prison officers.

But unions lashed out at the rises, dismissing them as too low and attacking ministers for trying to ‘divide’ public sector workers by picking and choosing who to give a rise to.

Union leaders wrote to the Chancellor Philip Hammond to demand he set aside cash in his November budget to foot the bill for the pay rise. Theresa May and her ministers have come under mounting pressure to scrap the 1% public sector pay cap for all workers

On Monday a string of trade union leaders threatened to unleash strikes across Britain unless ministers bowed to their demands for an inflation-busting pay rise. 

Royal College of Midwives director for employment relations Jon Skewes said: ‘This claim represents fair compensation for the rise of cost in living and goes someway to make up for midwives’ pay losing over £6,000 in value since 2010.’

A Government spokesman said: ‘Public sector workers, including NHS staff, do a fantastic job and the Government is committed to ensuring they can continue to deliver world-class public services.

‘The Government will continue to ensure that the overall package is fair while also being affordable to taxpayers as a whole.

‘The detail of 2018/19 pay remits for specific Pay Review Bodies will be discussed and agreed as part of the Budget process and will be set out in due course.’ 

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