Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/999/27483

From The Socialist newspaper, 13 June 2018

Health unions accept divisive NHS pay deal - but fightback could have won much more

Save our NHS, photo Paul Mattsson, photo Paul Mattsson

Save our NHS, photo Paul Mattsson, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Socialist Party health workers in Unison

All but one health union - 13 of the 14 - announced on 8 June they had voted to accept the government's NHS pay offer. Only general union GMB voted to reject it.

After the shock general election result in which the NHS crisis was a key issue, it was a deal the Tories were desperate to settle. The offer was proudly endorsed by Jeremy Hunt - along with many trade union leaders.

Some of the latter called it the end of low pay in the NHS, proclaiming there would be 29% pay rises for some, and a pay cap-busting 6.5% for all. As ever, and as the Socialist Party warned, the devil's in the detail (see 'NHS pay: reject the Tories' divide and rule offer').

In reality, the pay award will be stretched out over three years, with staff receiving a 3% increase this year followed by 1.7% in the two years after. This is still below the predicted rate of inflation over the next three years, so still a real-terms cut.

On top of the cost of living award, it's true there are bigger pay awards for the lowest-paid workers. But this is actually because pay has fallen so far in the NHS that it was in danger of not meeting the over-25 minimum wage - or 'National Living Wage' as the Tories have falsely renamed it.

The government has also agreed to accelerate workers up their pay grade, giving some additional pay increases.

Pay cap

And clearly the deal - in the first year - has broken the 1% public sector pay cap. It is Westminster's biggest offer to any group of public sector workers to date.

However, Socialist Party members in the health service described the deal as divisive. More could have been won for all by a determined fight of the 14 unions.

We warned that 6.5% over three years is still a pay cut. And 52% of NHS workers won't see a penny out of accelerated pay increments, as they are already at the top of their pay band.

Also, the deal is a further shift towards performance-related pay - so what is given with one hand today can be taken with the other tomorrow.

So why was the deal accepted - in Unison, the biggest health union, by 84% of the minority of members who voted? There is no doubt that after years of pay restraint, even 3% this year can seem a welcome release - let alone the extra for newer and lower-paid staff.

Many members, after years of nothing, have lost faith in the union leadership to deliver any more.

The fact that 13 of the unions - all using the same material - were calling on members to accept, clearly had an impact. At the same time, union leaderships tried to frighten members into thinking that if they rejected, it was back to the 1% cap via the NHS Pay Review Body.

The unions put massive efforts into persuading the members to accept the deal - with the open support of NHS managers.

There were reports of management giving reps time off to travel the wards with a laptop to get members to vote online. At the same time, workers report that management, and the likes of the Unison bureaucracy, made threats of disciplinary action against activists trying to organise a reject vote.

Despite all this work, Unison could still only muster 25% of its members to vote for the deal.

The fact that 87% of voting members in GMB, one of the smaller health unions, rejected the deal shows what could be achieved had there been a united campaign to reject. Instead health unions have signed off for three years just as other public sector workers are gearing up to fight.

However, members could still press for action for a better deal during this time. They may feel emboldened to do so if industrial action for better pay, such as the coming battle in the civil service, gets results.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 13 June 2018:


Grenfell Tower

Grenfell: still waiting for justice


PCS union

Civil service pay strike ballot: vote yes! Smash the cap!

PCS members in DWP say: Pay up now!


Fighting sexism

How can we fight for trade unions that fight for women?


Socialist Party news and analysis

Five reasons to walk out on 13 July

City vultures make millions from Carillion chaos

Retail crunch: more giants on their knees - nationalise them now

Pay rises of 283% needed for most to afford London homes

Them & us


Workplace news and analysis

Health unions accept divisive NHS pay deal

NHS workers plan coordinated strikes across West Yorks against outsourcing

4,000 Rolls-Royce jobs at risk

Transport for London to lose central grant: bus workers must prep for action

Housing strike against individualised pay enters week two

Vote Mike Rolfe for Napo general secretary


International socialist news and analysis

Venezuela: Neither the capitalists nor regime can solve the crisis

Eyewitness report from Gaza: "Razan was killed in front of my eyes"


Socialist Party campaigns

Build an anti-racist workers' movement

Help to sell the Socialist

Don't delay, buy issue 1000 today

Sheffield Labour council "happy" to jail trees protesters

In the words of Amber Rudd, "no one died at Orgreave"


 

Home   |   The Socialist 13 June 2018   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

NHS:

triangleGoing viral - Socialist letters and comments on the coronavirus crisis

triangleNHS supply chain worker: privatisation has cut equipment quantity and quality

triangleNHS workers speak out: the propaganda isn't true, austerity has left us unprepared

trianglePPE, Tests, Full pay - for all now

triangleAs coronavirus crisis intensifies, class antagonisms deepen

Health:

triangleEmergency legislation: Trade unions must be on guard against attacks on workers' interests

triangleWorking from home during the pandemic

trianglePostal workers walk out over health, safety and junk mail

Pay:

triangleLabour must resist 'Covid coalition'

triangleBus drivers halt sackings - now restore our pay

triangleKey workers should make bold demands

Unions:

triangleThe self-employed need 100% of their income, and now!

Unison:

triangleElectricians pay victory

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

1/4/20

Bus

Bus drivers halt sackings - now restore our pay

1/4/20

Children

Fully fund hospices to care for vulnerable children

1/4/20

Coronavirus

Help us continue to fight for workers and socialism

1/4/20

Socialist Party

Building the Socialist Party

1/4/20

CWU

Postal workers walk out over health, safety and junk mail

31/3/20

Coronavirus

Fight for safety, staffing and services - Covid chaos for benefits claimants

31/3/20

Bin workers

Refuse collection workers strike

31/3/20

Northern Ireland

Bosses concede to walkouts in Northern Ireland

31/3/20

Hull

Hull construction workers force bosses to shut down site over health and safety fears

31/3/20

Coronavirus

Key workers should make bold demands

31/3/20

Coronavirus

Self-isolation class divide: decent homes for all!

31/3/20

Coronavirus

Councils must use resources now for emergency response to Covid-19

31/3/20

PCS

More than ever, we need accountable union leaders

31/3/20

Leicester

Leicester: Nylacast worker exposes truth

30/3/20

Coronavirus

Working from home during the pandemic

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 07748 534 891

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999