Warning: Invalid argument supplied for foreach() in /home/nclexion/public_html/wp-content/themes/jnews/class/ContentTag.php on line 47
Making nurses wait until next year to be considered for a new pay rise is “not acceptable”, unions have warned, following the announcement of a wage increase for other public sector professions.
The chancellor has today confirmed an above-inflation uplift for nearly 900,000 workers in England for 2020-21, including doctors and teachers, in recognition of their contributions to tackling Covid-19.
“Telling them to wait until next year is not acceptable – nursing staff deserve a fair pay rise now”
Rishi Sunak (pictured above) agreed to implement the recommendations from each independent pay review body representing the professions, and said it was “right” to give public sector workers “real-terms” rises.
However, nurses, midwives and other NHS staff on the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay contract did not receive a boost, because they are still in the time span of a previously agreed three-year pay deal, which will end in March 2021.
In the wake of the pandemic, unions including the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Midwives and Unison have been calling on the government to bring forward the next round of AfC pay negotiations.
In a letter to the chancellor and the prime minister, sent at the start of July, a group of 14 unions said their members deserved a “meaningful early pay rise” that represented their value and made up for the loss of income caused by previous pay freezes and caps.
Commenting on today’s public sector pay announcement, Dame Donna Kinnair, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: “Nursing staff have witnessed great public support and now need to feel the same from government.
“Telling them to wait until next year is not acceptable – nursing staff deserve a fair pay rise now,” she said.
“The RCN, along with 13 other health unions, wrote to ministers several weeks ago asking for discussions on a fully-funded pay rise for NHS staff. The government needs to initiate that conversation without delay and conduct it on the basis of facts.
“In this year, of all years, it is time to value these professionals and begin to fill the tens of thousands of vacant posts,” she said.
Break down of the awards issued today:
- School teachers – 3.1%
- Doctors and dentists – 2.8%
- Police officers – 2.5%
- Armed forces – 2%
- National Crime Agency – 2.5%
- Prison officers – 2.5%
- Judiciary – 2%
- Senior civil servants – 2%
- Senior military – 2%
Dave Prentis, Unison general secretary, echoed Dame Donna’s comments and said pay rises were also deserved by local authority-employed public health staff, such as school nurses and health visitors.
“The government must show its appreciation by coming up with the cash now to give the rest of the NHS staff – including nurses, porters, ambulance crew and cleaners – an early pay rise this year,” he said.
“Local authorities also need proper funding so council, school support staff and care workers can get a well-deserved wages boost too,” said Mr Prentis, who is due to step down at the end of the year after two decades in post.
“Investment in staff and public services now will help boost the economy and ensure the UK’s in a better position to withstand a possible second wave.”
“It is now time to give NHS staff the early and substantial pay rise they deserve”
In addition, Mr Prentis warned that pay rises must not result in further cutbacks to public sector services.
The RCM also reiterated its own calls for Agenda for Change pay negotiations to be brought forward.
Jon Skewes, executive director for external relations at the RCM, said: “The massive contribution and dedication of our NHS workers during the pandemic has shown just how valuable they are.
“It is now time to give midwives, maternity support workers and other NHS staff the early and substantial pay rise they deserve.”
He said the award given should “recognise the urgent need to recruit more staff into the NHS, retain those we already have and restore real earnings”.
In its statement revealing the public sector pay rise, the Treasury addressed the fact that Agenda for Change staff were not included, noting that they “continue to benefit” from the three-year pay deal.
It claimed that, under the deal, the starting pay for a newly qualified nurse had increased by more than 12% since 2017-18.
“This means nurses who are still moving up their pay structures will receive an average 4.4% rise this year,” it added.