NHS strikes suspended after new pay offer
Written by First Choice Radio on 16 March 2023
Unions have suspended further strikes by ambulance and other NHS staff and will recommend acceptance of a new pay offer to NHS workers.
The breakthrough follows days of talks with the Government over the long-running dispute over pay which has led to a series of walkouts by nurses, ambulance crews, paramedics, hospital porters and other health workers in recent months.
Ambulance members of Unison and Unite were due to strike next Monday and physiotherapists were going to walkout later this month but the action has been called off.
Union members will now vote on whether to accept the deal.
Unison’s head of health Sara Gorton said: “It’s a shame it took so long to get here. Health workers had to take many days of strike action, and thousands more had to threaten to join them, to get their unions into the room and proper talks underway.
“But following days of intensive talks between the Government, unions and employers, there’s now an offer on the table for NHS staff.
“If accepted, the offer would boost pay significantly this year and mean a wage increase next year that’s more than the Government had budgeted for.
“This is better than having to wait many more months for the NHS pay review body to make its recommendation.
“Unison will now be putting this offer to the hundreds of thousands of health members in the union in the next few weeks, recommending acceptance.
“In the coming days, health workers will have the chance to look at the full detail of what’s on offer and decide whether that’s enough to end the dispute. While that process takes place any planned industrial action will be paused.”
Rachel Harrison, GMB national secretary, said the Government has gone from refusing to talk about pay this year to putting an extra £2.5 billion on the table.
She said: “GMB members should rightly be proud of themselves. It’s been a tough road but they have faced down the Department of Health and won an offer that we feel is the best that can be achieved at this stage through negotiation.
“If the offer is accepted then it would meet a key GMB demand of a huge pay uplift for the lowest paid to keep them well above the Real Living Wage.
“Progress has also been made on non-pay demands, such as addressing violence in the workplace.
“This offer is far from perfect, and of course our NHS workers deserve more. GMB’s national committee is recommending that the offer be accepted – but the final decision belongs to our members.
“Strike action will be paused until the outcome of the ballot.”
Elaine Sparkes, assistant director of employment relations at the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said: “It is without question the case that the courage and determination shown by CSP members and other NHS staff in taking widespread strike action is what brought the government back to the negotiating table, albeit belatedly.
“For many months the government refused to discuss any additional pay rise for 2022-23, a position they have now had to reverse.
“We always aim for consolidated pay rises. This new offer equates to a one-off payment of around £2,000 for most NHS staff, in addition to the £1,400 consolidated rise already in place.
“Although non-consolidated, this would go some way to offsetting what will have been a very difficult winter for many.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub