PRESS RELEASE. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. 14.04.2023
Campaigners from Save Our NHS Leicestershire have submitted a petition to members of parliament based in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland demanding that they intervene publicly to end the government’s dispute with NHS workers by providing a fair and real terms pay rise for nurses.
The petition, which gathered more than 800 signatures, reads:
“It is not acceptable that any nurses or other health workers are dependent upon food banks to get by and yet this is the current state of affairs.
“It is obvious that a failure to care for NHS staff weakens the ability of the NHS to care for its patients.
“NHS staff have been neglected or ill-treated for years, it is now time to honour them and to protect patients.”
As a result of industrial action by health unions, the government has since come back with an improved offer for NHS workers. This offer has been rejected by members of the Royal College of Nursing
Originally, NHS workers were offered a £1,400 (4.7% average) pay increase. This has since been improved to 10.7% which campaigners point out is still short of inflation, meaning that NHS workers will face a 13th year of real terms pay cuts. Moreover, the additional 6% comes in the form of a ‘one off’ unconsolidated payment so will not be paid in future.
Health campaigners and many union activists say that this offer is not fit for purpose.
Angelo Sanchez, Healthcare assistant and UNISON Rep at the Royal Infirmary, said:
“A majority of nurses and NHS staff I spoke to are not happy at all with the pay being offered by the government and have voted to reject the pay deal.
“It is clear for us that in reality, this is not a pay rise but another pay cut.
“There is a clear mood for fight amongst NHS staff, as we become aware of the fact that there is more than enough money out there to pay us a decent pay rise, but is in fact a political choice of the government not to do so.”
Tom Barker, a spokesperson for Save Our NHS Leicestershire, said:
“We understand the vote to reject. The government’s offer falls far short of what NHS workers need and will not address the staffing and recruitment crisis in our health service.
“NHS workers need a restorative pay rise, not ‘one off’ unconsolidated payments or ‘bonuses’ with further pay cuts down the line.
“The real take home lesson here is that improvements in the government’s offer were won by NHS workers taking action. If the unions want to extend these improvements they will need to be prepared for more action against this government.
“Save Our NHS Leicestershire will stand full square behind health workers in this fight.
“This pay campaign is about winning better terms and conditions for health workers, but it is also about the NHS itself.
“There are currently more than 135,000 staffing vacancies in the NHS. NHS workers are exhausted and the NHS is facing profound capacity problems. Private sector vultures, supported by the Tories and Starmer’s Labour, are using this to deepen their involvement in the NHS.
“To keep them out and maintain an NHS that is free at the point of us, a first step is to win a real and restorative pay rise for NHS workers!”