NHS workers accept three-year pay deal
- Credit: PA
A deal to give more than one million NHS workers a 6.5% pay rise over the next three years has been rubber-stamped.
Members of 13 unions have voted to accept the offer, which campaigners say will help ease financial misery for some families.
Staff should get the long-awaited boost in their July pay packets, backdated to April.
The agreement, reached after months of negotiation between unions, employers and ministers, was made possible with an extra £4.2 billion of government funding.
The rise comes after several years of a 1% cap on NHS pay increases, which prompted protests.
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Among those who will benefit are hospital cleaners, nurses, security guards, physiotherapists, 999 call handlers, paramedics, midwives and radiographers.
Unionists in the East of England say the deal is a step in the right direction, but have vowed to continue fighting for fair pay for all staff.
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Sasha Pearce, UNISON’s head of health in the east, said: “The agreement won’t solve all the NHS’ problems overnight, but it will go a long way towards easing the financial strain suffered by health staff and their families in East Anglia over many years.
“The lifting of the damaging 1% cap on pay will come as a huge relief for all the employers in this region who’ve struggled for so long to attract new recruits and hold onto experienced staff.
“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.”
Every NHS worker in England will now be paid at least £8.93 an hour, or £17,460 if they work full-time.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) led a campaign called Scrap the Cap, pressurising leaders to lose the 1% pay freeze.
Teresa Budrey, RCN eastern regional director, said: “RCN members working in the NHS across the East of England have campaigned long and hard for a pay rise that reflects the vital work they do and helps tackle the serious issues we have around recruitment and retention of nursing staff.
“We welcome the fact that members will now get the biggest pay rise they have seen in a decade.”
However, the deal does not apply to all nurses, and Ms Budrey said RCN would continue to push to ensure all its members were equally rewarded.
She added: “While this deal represents a step in the right direction, it is by no means the end of our work to get fair pay for nursing staff. We will carry on campaigning for our members, who go above and beyond to keep health services across our region afloat.”