The deal comprises three components, namely a pay rise of approximately 5%, along with two separate one-time payments – a 2% bonus and a 4% Covid payment.
The UK government has announced a substantial new pay proposal for healthcare employees in England, featuring a one-time bonus that union representatives estimate at £2.5bn.
Over the past several months, Health Secretary Steve Barclay and his team have held in-depth discussions with healthcare unions to resolve prolonged strike actions.
In a joint statement released on Thursday by the government and the NHS staff council (comprised of the unions), both parties declared the offer a just and equitable resolution that acknowledges the unwavering commitment of NHS personnel while taking into account the UK’s broader economic pressures.
According to the announcement, the proposal includes an additional pay increase for the financial year 2022-23, along with a pay settlement for 2023-24.
As per the union claims, this comprises a one-time payment for the current year, ranging from £1,655 for lower-paid employees like porters and cleaners to £3,789 for higher-paid personnel.
In the upcoming year, a 5% pay raise will be implemented, which is expected to surpass inflation rates if projections are accurate. Workers on the lower end of the pay scale are likely to receive a more substantial raise, with the minimum wage in the NHS projected to reach £11.45 per hour.
Unison, GMB, and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), among other unions, stated that they would advise their members to consider the new proposal and vote on its acceptance.
Industrial action was suspended last month to allow for talks, and while the consultation with members continues, no further strikes will be held.
Rachel Harrison, the GMB’s national secretary, remarked, “Thanks to the strength and hard work of GMB’s NHS members, the government has gone from refusing to talk about pay to putting an extra £2.5bn on the table for this year.”
Sara Gorton, Unison’s head of health, stated, “It’s unfortunate that it took so long to get to this point. Health workers had to engage in numerous days of strike action, and thousands more had to threaten to join them, to get their union into the room and proper negotiations underway.”
She claimed that the proposal would “substantially increase pay this year and lead to a salary hike next year, which is more than the government’s budgeted amount.”
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN), which had irritated some other health unions by unilaterally initiating discussions with Barclay last month, declared that it had also secured a new pay framework for nurses, which will be implemented from 2024-25.
RCN General Secretary Pat Cullen stated that her members’ historic decision to engage in strike action had been justified. “After challenging negotiations, there are a series of commitments here that our members can see will have a positive impact on the nursing profession, the NHS, and the people who rely on it,” she remarked.
However, Unite, which represents fewer NHS employees than the majority of the other unions involved in the dispute, stated that it would not recommend the offer. The General Secretary, Sharon Graham, stated, “It is evident that this government does not prioritize the interests of workers or the NHS.”
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