Health unions have accused ministers of treating NHS staff “with contempt” after the government announced this year’s pay increase at the last minute without explanation.
Health Minister Helen Whately was to announce that staff in England would benefit from a 3% increase, three times the 1% initially planned, in a statement Wednesday in the House of Commons.
But she made no mention of health services pay in her ‘NHS update’ at all, sparking frustration, anger and heavily voiced criticism from NHS task forces and staff .
Whately did not explain the omission and, when challenged by shadow health minister Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, said the size and price details had not been finalized. Allin-Khan said the failure to announce the pay deal was “an insult of the utmost importance”.
Pat Cullen, acting chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “This treatment of our NHS employees is shameful. Ministers despise them and we have no choice but to condemn this behavior.
“With tens of thousands of nursing vacancies vacant and thousands more in view of their future in the profession, the government is sending out the worst possible signal with this ongoing political game. “
Staff organizations and NHS bodies, which had been informed this morning by the Department of Health and Welfare (DHSC) that Whately would present the agreement in his speech, were surprised by his inability to give details.
Allin-Khan told the Commons: “Once again we see that this government has had to reverse a shoddy and ill-considered position with its 1% pay rise – a real pay cut, rejected by the independent remuneration body. .
“So what did the government do? Nothing. Less than an hour ago there had been competing briefings on what the deal was going to be, but it turned out to be nothing. Our NHS staff deserve better than this.
“They have worked incredibly hard throughout this pandemic, the personal sacrifice is incredible, their hard work never stops and it is not without consequences. “
The delay in announcing the award means 1.2 million NHS staff will have to wait even longer to find out the scale of their pay rise for the year that began April 1.
With the Commons rising on Thursday for the summer recess, that means the government has one last chance to announce the deal to MPs before September.
Rachel Harrison, national official of the GMB union, said: “It’s completely outrageous – practically the last day of Parliament and the government has once again insulted NHS workers by remaining silent.
“NHS workers who watched the minister today will be rightly disgusted by this disrespect. NHS staff have put themselves at risk throughout the pandemic and as a health union we cannot accept MPs going on vacation leaving health workers in limbo. “
There is speculation the government’s plan to make just 1.5% of the proposed 3% a permanent base salary increase, with the remaining 1.5% being a one-time bonus – which the Guardian revealed on Tuesday – has been a key factor in the ad. being pulled.
Subsequently, some healthcare unions privately told DHSC that they would publicly reject such a deal, as staff pensions would be affected and members would view the 3% figure as a scam.