UNISON’S campaign for an immediate pay rise for health workers goes up a level this week – with a plea to the public and serious demands made of MPs.
Had the government already agreed to a fair and reasonable pay rise of £2,000 for all health workers, this week NHS staff would be getting an extra £38.46 a week in their pay packets.
Instead, they have nothing.
The government’s delay means that, after leading the battle against Covid-19, more than a million health workers – including cleaners, porters, physiotherapists, 999 call handlers, nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants – must now wait until later in the year for a wage increase.
To make matters worse, the government is proposing a rise of just 1%.
That’s why Unison and the other health unions are asking households across the UK to show their appreciation of NHS workers on Thursday 1 April, by putting colourful posters in their windows that support a proper NHS pay rise.
At the same time, Unison is asking all its members, their families and friends to email their MPs, calling on them to do everything they can to deliver that pay rise without delay.
The aim is to have MPs return from their Easter breaks with inboxes full of messages about NHS pay.
The union will then be detailing their response – or lack of it – on its NHS pay monitor website.
‘Every day that passes without a pay rise is another day NHS staff are being told they aren’t valued by our politicians,’ said head of health Sara Gorton.
‘So, from 1 April we’ll not only be messaging our MPs in our thousands, we’ll be keeping track of every day that passes without an increase and every penny that’s being kept out of NHS workers’ pockets.
‘With inboxes full of messages from the public and health workers, and all of us tracking MPs’ inaction, we can turn up the pressure on our politicians to stop the delays and secure a proper pay rise that shows NHS staff they are truly appreciated.’
The RCN stated: ‘The Fair Pay For Nursing campaign aims to secure a fully-funded 12.5% pay increase for all nursing staff covered by Agenda for Change terms, as part of a one-year deal that applies equally to all bands. It is time to pay nursing staff fairly.
‘We’ve launched a campaign to pressure the government into paying nursing staff what they’re worth. Find out what’s happening and how you can get involved.
‘We want nursing professionals to be valued for their high level of knowledge, expertise and skills with pay that reflects the complexity of their roles and the impact of their work.
‘This means campaigning for an early and significant pay rise for NHS staff and influencing independent health and social care employers, so they recognise and reward nursing staff properly.
‘We want to secure a fully funded 12.5% pay increase for all NHS nursing staff covered by Agenda for Change, as part of a one-year deal that applies equally to all bands.’
Dave Wiltshire, Secretary of the All Trades Union Alliance, commented: ‘The government insulted health workers, many of whom have given their lives during the pandemic, with its 1% pay offer.
‘NHS workers require at least 15% and they also require the trade union leaders to step up to the mark and win it.
‘This means that the TUC must be forced to call a general strike to win the claim by bringing down the Tories and going forwards to a workers government.’