We can do better – re-ballot all NHS workers and reinstate the action.
We have to start by saying clearly that we would have got nothing extra this year if it had not been for amazing health workers who voted by massive majorities for strikes across many unions. And for those who crossed 50% turnout thresholds and went on strike – in the RCN, in Unison, in CSP physios, in Unite and in GMB and now in the BMA. We all owe real thanks to those who courageously and defiantly stood on cold pickets. And to those who have solidarity. It shows strikes can win rises.
For 2023/4 the offer is really bad. It’s 5% across the board except for the bottom of band 2 which is abolished so get 10.4%.) Once you take away the 6% non-consolidated rise from 2022/3, it means a 5% across-the-board rise amounts to anyone below top band 7 getting 1% or more less in pounds in our pay packets than we did in 2022/3. It’s a pay cut of 1% that year e.g. £352 less for top band 5.
How will two more years of pay cuts stop health workers from leaving the NHS? How will it enable us to fill the 135,000 unfilled vacancies we have now? How will it improve patient care or staff well-being as we work harder and harder?
We could have done so much better. Junior doctors in the BMA (whose starting salary after 5 years at uni is only £14.10 per hour) joined the strike action this week. They are determined to win pay restoration of all the money they have lost in the last 15 years. Their 3 day without any exemptions really put the government under pressure and led to our talks.
Imagine what we could win if unions re-balloted all their branches that did not reach the thresholds. If strikes were reinstated. If the BMA and other health unions fought together. We could strike together and win together – united, one Team, One NHS, happy staff with safe numbers to do a proper job.
We do not see any group of staff as different or better than any others. We all play our part. We all pay bills. We need to stand together not separate. Just like we do not fall for their attacks on people who come in small boats, when we know it’s the people in big boats and super-yachts, who are ripping us off in utility, fuel, supermarket, PPE and other profiteering scandals.
What can we do now? We think we should reject this deal, as we can do better, especially for the second year.
However poor we are, don’t be bribed by the first year lump sum into accepting an actual pay cut in the second. It just delays our debts. The government can find money as they did for Defence (£5b which would pay the junior doctors 37% claim 5 times over), £2b for rich people’s pensions, £200b for Trident.
We should #Reject NHS pay Offer. #Reballot all members for strike. #Reinstate the action. We can do much better.