Keep Our NHS Public and Health Campaigns Together (KONP/HCT) totally support the health unions, their members and the NHS in fighting for pay justice. Pay justice is vital for the workforce to be supported, to maximise retention of current staff and the recruitment of new staff to fill the 135,000 vacant posts.
Without the courage and determination of the health unions and their members who balloted for and took strike action, this Government would not have budged at all. At the beginning of this dispute, the Government was making it clear they would not move from the Pay Review Body proposals and called on staff not to strike. It is clear that the Government has had to retreat from that position and offer an enhanced pay deal. We remain proud to stand with, and offer unconditional support to, the struggle of NHS staff for better pay. Union members now face the very difficult task of deciding how to vote on the offer extracted from this arrogant and vindictive government.
KONP/HCT chooses not to comment publicly about the details of the deal since this is the business of union members. Our reason for existence is to work together with unions, staff, patients and the public to defend the NHS as a public service and to fight for proper public funding for the NHS.
We will, however, campaign hard to ensure that whatever settlement is agreed, all pay increases must come from new government money and not from existing overstretched budgets. Health union reps coming away from the end of the negotiations believed that the Government had committed new money for the NHS. That commitment is now very much in doubt and is still to be confirmed.
Part of the current offer, however, is non-consolidated and will represent a one-off lump sum payment. This therefore will not address the inbuilt low pay that is driving the loss of staff from the NHS and the failure to recruit in sufficient numbers. We therefore understand the anger of health workers whose pay has been eroded over the last 13 years. With inflation remaining stubbornly high, this is an issue which staff and unions will need to come back to next year if the deal is accepted.
KONP/HCT supports the demand of the SOS NHS coalition for an immediate cash injection of at least £20 billion for the NHS; the bringing of all outsourced NHS services back in-house; and a long-term health plan (rather than a quick fix) which addresses built-in low pay across the NHS. Neglecting to properly reward all staff for the critical work they undertake and to address pay justice, will utterly fail to address the recruitment and retention issues, and will continue to contribute to the downward slide in the nation’s health and wellbeing.
Keep Our NHS Public/Health Campaigns Together