Staff have seen their pay fall in real terms each year since 2009. This year, the Government decided not to pay even the 1% rise recommended by the NHS Pay Review Body. Instead, most NHS staff will not get a cost of living pay rise this year. At last month’s Conservative Party Conference, George Osborne said that a future Tory Government would persevere with public sector pay restraint for at least two more years.
UNISON members working in the NHS will stage a four-hour stoppage between 7am and 11am on Monday 13 October. This will be followed by four days of action short of a strike between Tuesday 14 and Friday 17 October when members will take their scheduled breaks.
Ella Henry (33) from Bury, is an Occupational Therapist at a local hospital. She and her husband Thomas, who also works in the NHS, will be celebrating their son’s first birthday next month. Ella will be taking industrial action over pay for the first time next week:
“Without a decent pay increase it’s a struggle to pay every day bills. Nursery fees are expensive and without help from my in-laws two days a week I wouldn’t have been able to afford to return to work full-time.
“We have to be frugal on things like clothes, CDs and things for the house. We’ve started to think of more and more things as luxury items now and we have to be careful with money.
“I don’t think it’s fair that we’re having to keep making do and seeing our living standards gradually fall. We’re having to run to stand still and this can’t go on year after year.”
Paul Foley, UNISON North West’s Head of Health said:
“Staff are on average 10% worse off than when the coalition came to power and this means their families are suffering and morale is hitting rock bottom. A well-motivated workforce saves lives so we need to cherish and support our NHS staff who work day in, day out caring for others.
“The NHS runs on the goodwill of its workers, but this Government has shown utter contempt for them by refusing to give any pay increase to the vast majority this year and next.
“NHS members don’t take action often or lightly, but they have been put in a position where they feel they simply have to take a stand.”