Tories 1% and Labour’s £500 are pay insults

NHS pay: 15% now

Health workers protest for a 15% pay rise. Photo: Steve Eason/CC

Health workers protest for a 15% pay rise. Photo: Steve Eason/CC   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

Wales NHS Nurse

NHS staff are seething about the Tories 1% pay ‘rise’. Now the Labour-controlled Welsh government has announced a one-off £500 bonus for NHS workers. Nationally, Labour is suggesting only a 2.1% pay rise – no less of an insult than the Tories’ 1%.

Westminster and the devolved governments are seriously underestimating NHS workers’ anger if they think single-figure increases and one-off bonuses are enough. Obviously we welcome the bonus, but we will not be sidetracked from the fight for a 15% pay rise.

NHS workers did an estimated 1,000,000 unpaid overtime hours during the pandemic. Is £500 going to make up for that?

Our wages have gone down in value by around 20% in the last decade. A one-off bonus will not reverse that.

It won’t improve recruitment and retention, and will soon be swallowed up by rising living costs. It won’t change the fact that most NHS workers have to do second jobs, agency and bank shifts on top of their full-time hours.

Even this measly offer from Labour isn’t out of the goodness of their hearts. This is the same Welsh Labour government that lied about PPE shortages during the first Covid wave.

The Welsh Government has the power to award a 15% pay rise to NHS workers. The trade union movement should be putting pressure on the Welsh government to pay up and raise a challenge to Westminster to provide the funds for 15% across the board.

NHS workers in England and Wales will continue to fight for an immediate 15% pay rise, and for any bonuses to be paid equally across the UK. Even that is only the beginning of what we must fight for to retain the NHS.

  • An immediate 15% pay rise for all health and care staff
  • Unions must organise for strike action
  • Reverse privatisation. Scrap the Private Finance Initiative. Cancel PFI debt. Bring all outsourced workers and services in-house on permanent contracts
  • A fully publicly funded NHS and care system, free at the point of use
  • A socialist NHS – democratically run by elected committees, including service workers and users
  • We can’t trust pro-privatisation, pro-austerity, anti-working-class politicians. For a new mass workers’ party