13 March 2014
From the GMB website:
GMB Ballot To Consult Members Over Insulting Pay Offer For NHS Staff
This meagre rise will not help living standards to recover to pre- recession levels – since UK output per head is still 5.7% below level in 2007 – and NHS workers need a decent pay rise says GMB.
GMB, the union for NHS workers, responded to the publication of the Government response to the NHS Pay Review Body recommendations on the pay of NHS workers. See notes to editors for copy of statement by HM Treasury.
Rehana Azam, GMB National Officer for the NHS, said, “GMB members across the country will take the blocking of a full 1% pay rise as a personal insult.
GMB members will not stand aside whilst the Government makes such direct attacks on their pay and conditions. GMB will immediately begin making arrangements to consult members who will be asked to vote in a consultative ballot to decide the next steps in this dispute.
How will blocking this meagre rise help living standards to recover to pre- recession levels. UK GDP output per head was £23,894 in 2013. This is 5.7% below the £25,326 per head in 2007. This fall in output per head is the root cause of the 13.8% drop in the real value of average earnings in the UK between April 2008 and November 2013. Workers in the NHS need a decent pay rise.
NHS England continues to produce underspends so billions are paid back to the Treasury for deficit reduction. Any underspend should go back into the NHS to improve services so GMB don’t accept the arguments a full 1% pay rise is unaffordable.
This attack on pay comes in the same week the Government pushed through the controversial Clause 119, an amendment to the Care Bill which will allow the Government to serve notice on any hospital in England to have them asset stripped within 40 days.
This new dispute is in addition to the suspended industrial action ballot in the Ambulance Service whilst discussions are on-going with employers over attempts to cut ambulance staff sick pay by up to 25%.”
Martin Jackson, GMB NHS Chair, said “NHS workers up and down the country are doing their incredible best, against a backdrop of NHS cuts and reorganisations. We are facing an unprecedented increase in demand for NHS Services and this constant government meddling on pay and conditions is just a step too far. Many GMB members were counting on the paltry 1% to help subsidise the increase in cost of pension contributions which are to come in next month. Our cost of living has increased, we have had years of pay restraint and now we are told we are not even going to receive the 1% the Chancellor set out in the last budget. I have worked as a nurse for many years and GMB members up and down the country are telling me enough is enough.”
Steve Rice GMB Ambulance Chair said “We are seeing down grading of A&E depts, we are seeing Ambulance workers queuing to handover patients to hospitals. We are seeing unprecedented numbers of people going to A&E depts – the increase in demand is not the fault of NHS workers in the Ambulance Service. The increase in demand in the NHS is the Government fault and their sheer inability to stop meddling in the NHS. If they are not meddling, controlling Clinicians in what they can and can’t do, they have been meddling with our hard fought terms and conditions. At a time when demand on the ambulance service workers and NHS is high and growing we have been giving much more for much less and now we are told the less we have endured is being devalued again and it’s a step too far.”
Contact: Rehana Azam, GMB National Officer 07841 181656 or GMB Press Office on 07921 289880 or 020 7391 6755/56.