Unions, representing nurses and other healthcare professionals, have written to the chancellor to demand a 3.9% pay rise for a million NHS staff.
Fourteen trade unions, including the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Midwives, the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Unite and the GMB, have together written to the chancellor demanding a 3.9% pay rise plus an additional extra £800 to make up for the real-terms pay cut they have seen in recent years.
The increase would add an extra £3bn to the NHS pay bill but unions say this must come from the government rather than the NHS budget.
This week the government said it had scrapped the “hard cap” on pay for public sector workers and claimed there would be more “flexibility” in the future. But, that they need to wait for the reports of individual pay review bodies.
Earlier this month the Royal College of Nursing said that industrial action was on the table if the government failed to present an adequate pay deal to nurses.
Unison head of health Sara Gorton said;
“Health workers have gone without a proper pay rise for far too long. Their wages continue to fall behind inflation as food and fuel bills, housing and transport costs rise.”
RCN general secretary Janet Davies said it is important the money to pay for the rise is found by the Treasury rather than taken from the NHS budget.
“When ministers hold pay down, it drives too many nurses out of the NHS”.
The RCN says it will also be submitting detailed evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body on motivation, morale, recruitment and retention issues for nursing staff, the economic impact of years of pay restraint and the workload pressures caused by short staffing.
A government spokeswoman 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 British Medical Association has not signed the letter.