NHS Pay – So, what are we going to do about it?
The government has seen the NHS as easy picking for cutting pay from its 1.4m workforce. It has made a calculation that NHS workers, predominantly women, and all dedicated to their patients (although they fail to say that bit), will bear the sacrifice for another year or two, moan, but then get on with their work.
With most staff donating an additional day a week to the NHS, whether through catching up with notes after a shift, doing their mandatory training on line, covering for shortages in the service or simply being caught up with a patient, the NHS is already getting more than it pays for through this charitable donation by NHS staff.
This soon adds up, and for a Health Visitor, Pharmacist or Speech and Language Therapist, this could amount to just short of £7000 a year were they to get paid for their additional work. Of course they’re not. It doesn’t take long to realise that the NHS is onto something. The more cuts they make, the longer staff end up working for the sake of their patients, and the bigger their donation to the NHS coffers.
So when it comes to the end of the year, you expect a little return for all these efforts. It is galling that the Secretary of State doesn’t believe that when inflation is running at 2.8%. He doesn’t even believe that NHS workers are worth the 1% the NHS Pay Review Body recommended; a pay cut in itself.
Now add in the increased pension contributions (again paying more for getting less), and you start to see a bit of a theme developing.
In addition some have been downbanded, lost allowances, lost their on call, seen increases in their Nursing and Midwifery Council fees, lost unsocial hours when off sick, had performance pay imposed on them, paid increased parking charges, and not to mention lost the 15% increase in inflation whilst salaries have been frozen; the list goes on.
The lesson is: the more you give, the more they take
The solution is: stop giving more, and see what they do
This has always been the narrative of industrial action. If you don’t take a stand, then the employers will come back for more, but once bitten, they will think twice next time before they rob you.
Unite’s preparations for an industrial action ballot are in full swing. If we only work to rule, then it could cost the government up to £10bn – yes billion – more in providing cover, but we know agencies charge more than this. This is just by working the 37½ hours you are employed for, or less if you are part time. Staff shouldn’t be doing any more than this anyway, as they will be tired, lose focus, and it will not necessary be in the best interests of patients, not to mention themselves.
This is just one option, but let’s start fighting back and see what the government has to say. Cutting staff pay, making the service cheaper, is simply making the NHS easier to sell to the private companies, preying on our NHS. Are you angry enough to join us? Fair pay is not a big ask.