NHS staff from 14 unions vote to accept three-year pay deal

NHS staff

Every NHS worker in England will now be paid at least £8.93 per hour, or £17,460 per year if they work full time, as part of a three-year deal and changes to the pay structure of the organisation, collectively endorsed by NHS unions as of Friday 8 June 2018.

The pay deal was originally proposed in March 2018. Since then, all 14 NHS unions, which include Unison and Unite, have been consulting with members.

As of Friday 8 June, 79% of Unite members voted to accept, with a turnout of 27% of its 100,000 members in the health service. A total of 84% of Unison members voted to accept, with a turnout of 83,500, or 30%.

The pay deal will provide an immediate £2,000 increase for lower-paid NHS staff, taking them above the living wage, which is currently set at £8.75 per hour.

In the first year of the deal, NHS staff currently at the top of their pay band will see a 3% rise, which will accumulate over the three years to 6.5%. The pay deal also promises higher percentage increases for those lower down in their respective pay bands. These will be delivered through a combination of cost of living pay rises and faster incremental increases.

The deal also ensures higher starting salaries for NHS staff, meaningful pay rises on promotion, and faster progression through most pay bands.

During negotiations, the Treasury agreed that it would find £4.2 billion of new money to fund the pay deal, to ensure that pay increases do not negatively affect jobs or patent care.

Sara Gorton, lead negotiator and head of health at Unison, says: “[The agreement] won’t solve all the NHS’s problems overnight, but it will go a long way towards easing the financial strain suffered by health staff and their families over many years.

“But this three-year pay deal must not be a one-off. Health workers will want to know that ministers are committed to decent wage rises across the NHS for the long term, and that this isn’t just a quick fix.

“Most importantly, the extra funding means the pay rise won’t be at the expense of services or patient care.

“Now the government has begun to put right the damage inflicted by its mean-spirited pay policies, staff will be hoping ministers announce an injection of cash for NHS services in time for its 70th birthday next month.”

Sarah Carpenter, national officer for health at Unite, added: “We are pleased that our members have voted by such a large margin to accept the three-year package that was hammered out after some tough negotiations.

“However, we don’t regard this result as the end of the story, but a first stage on the long march for pay justice for dedicated staff working in the NHS, after eight years of pay austerity.

“And it is that goal to which we will be concentrating our energies in the months ahead.

“There are still a number of issues that have to be resolved at a local level, such as ‘buying and selling annual leave for pay’, the implementation of pay progression by individual trusts, and how trusts pay and support their apprentices.

“There are also the ongoing discussions regarding the deals in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.”

Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for health and social care, said: “This is an incredibly well deserved pay rise for staff who have never worked harder. Salaries will increase from between 6.5% and 29%, with some of the biggest increases for the lowest paid. I hope this will also go some way to helping us recruit and retain more brilliant staff in our NHS.”