NHS unions hit out at pay freeze call

7 Oct 13
Unions have accused the Department of Health of ‘bullying’ NHS staff after ministers said health service staff should not receive a 1% pay rise.

In evidence submitted to the independent pay review body, the DoH urged the body not to implement the 1% rise saying the money could be better used elsewhere.

Rachael Maskell, head of health at Unite, said: ‘Jeremy Hunt’s move to scrap the 1% pay rise that already had been given the green light from [Chief Secretary to the Treasury] Danny Alexander smacks of bullying and kicking a demoralised workforce in the teeth – again.

‘For him to claim that the Department of Health does not have the money to spend on staff is ridiculous, given he has just wasted £3bn on a bureaucratic reorganisation that no-one wants.’

Christina McAnea, head of health at Unison, said finance should not be put before patients.

‘We all know that productivity comes from having well motivated staff who understand their jobs, have adequate resources, and feel valued by their employer. Being told they are not worth a measly 1% is likely to have the opposite effect,’ she said.

But a DoH spokeswoman said decisions on pay had yet to be taken.

She said: ‘Making better use of the pay bill will help protect jobs and improve care. Many NHS staff have continued to receive pay rises of up to 6% and we want to keep working with the trade unions and employers on affordable pay.’

The pay review bodies are due to make their recommendations next year.

According to the DoH, the system of incremental pay progression meant 60% of NHS staff received an average 3.5% pay increase last year.

 Public sector pay increases are currently capped at 1%. This should not be interpreted as a 1% pay increase on top of incremental rises, the department said.


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