The Tories' NHS

The good news: the eight year cap on NHS staff pay may finally be removed! The bad news? What’s being offered by way of “pay rise” is anything but. 

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Following months of negotiations between Ministers and Union officials, 1 million NHS staff are set to be offered what the Government is calling a 6.5% pay rise according to a leaked report today.

However, in practice, what that looks like is as follows: a 3% increase in salary from 2018-2019, which is simply the rate of inflation, and then a rise of 1-2% in the following two years.

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The pay rise, which simply lines pay with inflation, is not a pay rise in any meaningful sense. Considering the fact that such an inadequate, paltry measure comes after eight years of pay that hasn’t even nearly matched the rate of inflation, the insult is stark.

NHS Nurse and ardent pro-NHS activist Jac Berry explained exactly why the Tories’ latest offer is so demeaning in a Facebook post, saying:

Somebody (probably in a suit) has leaked what the government plans to offer us NHS staff over the next three years.

 

The chat is we will be offered a 6.5% increase which sounds good BUT ACTUALLY there are problems with what’s allegedly on the table.

 

1) The “award” is spread out over three years. If the rumours are true, this year we’ll be offered 3%, followed by 1-2% for the 2019-2021. The cost of living is going up faster than that, so this is in effect a pay cut.

 

2)In return, we must give up a day of our hard won Annual Leave. Personally I believe we need that annual leave to get rest and recuperation from doing incredibly undervalued work in increasingly challenging circumstances.

 

Sacrificing a day of that doesn’t just effect our pockets, it also effects our general well-being.

I do not view this as a acceptable offer so unless the 14 Health union leaders in direct negotiations can push the government back, I think we have no choice but to reject it.

 

On the question of strike action. No worker, let alone those of us caring for the sick and the vulnerable, withdraws their labour lightly. However, if the above is the best that (c)an be achieved through negotiations then I can’t think of any other option.


To add more insult to the insult, in return for the paltry Government offering – some Twistian helping served up and slopped into the bowls of Britain’s most cherished workers – it is also a condition of the Tories’ offer that NHS staff sacrifice a day’s holiday. Indeed, the condition is a so-called red line. 

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Such a red line constitutes, in reality, a 0.4% pay cut. All this comes after a 14% real terms pay cut following years of austerity.

With an NHS suffering a massive dearth in staff: underfunded and under-appreciated, the Government’s response highlights exactly how little they truly care, and how little they appreciate the scale of the issue.

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It’s symptomatic of a Government that thinks it can continue to strangulate the air out of the lungs of the institutions that make this country great and still expect it to sing in perfect falsetto. 

Our NHS staff already work untold hours of unpaid overtime, already they sacrifice for strangers, and now in order to be graced with the honour of a meagre pay rise, they are expected to give up their only time to rest, to recuperate, to recover and rejuvenate so that they can continue to provide the service that they do. 

After May patronised the profession by lying to them that a “magic money tree” doesn’t exist before jimmying up wads of cash for the DUP, and after she proselytised that there are myriad reasons why nurses might use food banks, this supposed ‘offer’ from the Government is truly outrageous. 

It is arrogant, condescending, brutish and destructive, and NHS Staff should reject it.

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