Unite welcomes news that healthcare workers will now receive recommended one percent pay increase
Latest Retail Price Inflation figures mean HSC workers effectively still suffering a 2.9% standard of living cut
December 13th: Kevin McAdam, Unite Industrial officer with responsibility for the health sector welcomed confirmation that the Department of Health would ensure that £26 million set aside for a one percent pay increase for healthcare workers would be released:
“This is a welcome development for our members in the health and social care services. The one percent pay increase for 2017-18 was recommended by the UK-wide Independent Pay Body but denied until now to workers in Northern Ireland.
“We have sought long and hard to remove the log-jam that left healthcare workers bewildered as they heard £26 million had been allocated to cover the costs of a one percent pay increase but that this could not be released in the absence of an Executive Minister.
“The pay increase, meagre as it is, will be backdated to April 1st of this year and will be worth approximately £300 to workers. It is sure to be welcome to healthcare workers coming as it is in the mouth of Christmas. But the delay in providing the pay increase was completely unnecessary and appears to be politically-inspired.
“Indeed while this announcement is welcome, it is completely inadequate. Healthcare workers are still seeing their pay decrease year-on-year losing 15 percent in pay in real terms since the Banking crisis ten years ago. Yesterday’s UK-wide retail price inflation figure – an index no longer used by the government to calculate pay but one that reflects the real cost price inflation actually experienced by workers – was 3.9%. This means that despite today’s pay increase healthcare workers are effectively losing 2.9% in real terms.
“Such pay policy is unsustainable and reflects a Tory government which is determined to engineer a crisis in our precious NHS in order to open it up to private profit. The effect is to be witnessed across our services which are struggling to retain staff. Nowhere is this situation worse than Northern Ireland where pay has fallen behind other UK nations under the watch of the last Executive. We desperately need a functioning Executive to invest in our HSC workforce to ensure we can retain world-class healthcare professionals and staff into the future”.