NHS workers have lost around £9,000 a year as a result of government pay cuts and there is growing anger over the “paltry” 3% pay rise.
A union leader has warned that industrial action is being considered by nurses following the “pathetic” pay rise for NHS staff in England and Wales.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has said this is a “bitter blow” as once inflation is taken into account the pay rise would be cut.
Patricia Marquis, England director of the RCN, told BBC’s Newsnight the pay rise has left nurses feeling they were not “valued for what they do.”
She said the union are now consulting with their members, and Marquis added, “Once we have their view – which we suspect will be to say they are unhappy about the level – we will then be considering with them what the next steps might be, which could include consideration of industrial action most certainly.”
The RCN’s general secretary Pat Cullen said, “When the Treasury expects inflation to be 3.7%, Ministers are knowingly cutting pay for an experienced nurse by over £200 in real-terms.
“Nursing staff will remain dignified in responding to what will be a bitter blow to many.
“But the profession will not take this lying down.
“We will be consulting our members on what action they would like to take next.”
The Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Wednesday in a video posted on Twitter, “NHS staff are rightly receiving a pay rise this year despite the wider public sector pay pause, in recognition of their extraordinary efforts.
“We asked the independent pay review bodies for their recommendations and I’m pleased to accept them in full, with a 3% pay rise for all staff in scope, from doctors and nurses to paramedics and porters.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted, “To recognise the extraordinary contribution they have made they are receiving a 3% pay rise this year.”
The GMB are also now consulting their members on the pay rise and are recommending they reject the “paltry” response from the government.
National officer Rehana Azam said, “After 10-years of pay cuts, a pandemic that saw NHS staff put all their lives at risk and now a pay offer from the government that amounts to taking yet more cash from their pockets, it’s no wonder moral among NHS workers is rock bottom.
“It can’t be right that our health workers have had their pay slashed by thousands and it can’t be right that their reward for their pandemic efforts is yet more cuts to their pay.
“GMB will be recommending members turn down this paltry pay offer.
“Ministers need to think again.”
British Medical Association (BMA) council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said it is “disappointing” that the announcement of a 3% pay uplift for doctors in England.
He said the government “does not adequately recognise the extraordinary contribution of doctors working in the most challenging period” in their professional lives.
Dr Nagpaul said, “Doctors have risked their health, and some have even lost their lives as they have worked to treat patients and protect the nation against a deadly virus.
“Scores of doctors have not taken annual leave and have worked extra hours without pay as they served the nation.
“Now they face a gruelling year ahead with millions of patients on waiting lists, and the country in the midst of another Covid-19 wave.
“Our members have been left exhausted, burned out and on the verge of physical and mental breaking point by the past 18 months.
“Junior doctors and GPs on multi-year pay deals in England have given just as much of themselves as all doctors to care for their patients – and yet have been callously disregarded in this pay award and will receive less than their peers.”