Nursing and midwifery unions have made a last-ditch effort to persuade the chancellor to reconsider the government’s 1% cap on NHS pay increases, ahead of his autumn statement later today.
The letter to Philip Hammond has been signed by 15 unions, including Unison, Unite and the royal colleges of nursing and midwifery.
“This is a shameful way to treat the staff who keep the NHS afloat”
It states: “We are calling on you to consider the impact of the continued policy of pay restraint on the recruitment and retention of NHS staff and to add to the current remit of the NHS pay review body to recommend an uplift that restores the in earning already incurred through cumulative years of below-inflation pay awards.”
In the letter, the unions also call on the government to stop putting pressure on the review body to keep potential pay awards to NHS staff to a maximum of 1%, which they said “destabilises industrial relations”.
Jon Skewes, director for policy, employment relations and communications at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “Over half a decade of pay restraint has seen the value of the pay of hardworking midwives drop dramatically. This, coupled with changes to NHS terms and conditions, pensions and increases to national insurance, means they are struggling to make ends meet.
“The government takes the hard work and dedication of NHS staff for granted,” he said. “It is these same staff whose commitment to the people they care for is stopping the NHS from imploding.
He added: “If a midwife’s salary had increased by the Retail Price Index inflation since 2010 their salary would be over £6,000 higher than it is now. If the projected pay restraint continues to 2020, as the government intends, the difference will rise to over £9,000.
“This is a shameful way to treat the staff who keep the NHS afloat,” said Mr Skewes. “The RCM is calling for the pay review body to scrap the public sector pay cap and recommend an inflation-proofed pay award for midwives and other NHS staff.”
Meanwhile, a petition started by the RCN calling for an end to the 1% pay cap for NHS nursing staff has been signed by over 62,000 people.
Mr Hammond will make his autumn at 12.30pm on Wednesday 23 November, his first major economic speech since his appointment as chancellor in the wake of the Brexit vote earlier this year.
Unions call on chancellor to boost NHS staff pay