Unions agree 6.5% pay rise for 1.3m NHS staff

21 Mar 18

Unions, NHS employers and the government have agreed on a proposed pay rise of 6.5% for 1.3 million health workers in England.

NHS staff who are on the Agenda for Change pay grading system are due to benefit from a nationwide funding boost worth £4.2bn from the Treasury. 

AfC includes all NHS staff except for doctors and dentists, and places them on a graded pay scale made up of nine bands ranging from £15,000 to £100,000.

The figure of 6.5% is a minimum and the lowest paid NHS staff can expect a maximum pay rise of up to 29% over the next three years. 

Those on the lowest pay band will receive an immediate pay rise of over £2,000 in April, which represents a rise of between 11% to 13% and will bring the lowest full-time salary up from £15,404 to £17,460.

The increase for the bottom rung of the pay scale brings the NHS’ lowest earners 18p above the real living wage to £8.93 per hour- this will benefit caterers, cleaners and porters.

Health workers at the top of their pay band will receive a 6.5% pay rise between April 2018 and April 2020 - 3% in April 2018, 1.7% and a 1.1% lump sum in April 2019, and 1.7% from April 2020.

Sara Gorton, Unison head of health and lead pay negotiator for the NHS unions, said: “Seven years of pay freezes and wage increases well below the cost of living have meant significant financial hardship for health staff and their families.

“It has also created headaches for employers as they struggled to attract new recruits and hold onto experienced staff.

“The agreement means an end at last to the government’s self-defeating and unfair one per cent pay cap.”

Josie Davies, Royal College of Nursing chief executive and general secretary, said: “The progress achieved here is credit to our members who fought hard to scrap the brutally unfair pay cap.

“Today’s deal is neither a magic wand nor a blank cheque but commits significant government cash to overlooked NHS staff without making any unpalatable demands in return.

“For that reason we are asking members to vote in favour.”

The initial proposal had called for NHS staff to give up one day’s holiday per year to receive the pay rise. This was not included in the offer today. 

Davies also expressed hope that this pay rise would make nursing an attractive profession again and begin to tackle to the 40,000 unfilled nursing jobs in England.

In his Autumn budget, chancellor Philip Hammond revealed that health secretary Jeremy Hunt would begin discussions with health unions on “pay structure modernisation” to “improve recruitment and retention”.

Health unions will now consult with their members over the pay offer and, if accepted, the pay rise will be received in staff’s July wage packets, backdated from April.

If accepted, devolved governments will need to decide whether they will follow England in accepting the deal.


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