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The government has announced a £1,400 pay award for NHS staff. This announcement is over 3 months late and falls far short of inflation. That makes it another real-terms pay cut.

We can confirm UNISON will run a consultation of all members in the NHS – so you can decide how we respond.

Immediately following the announcement (5pm on 19 July) we held an emergency meeting of the Health Service Group Executive.

That committee reached the unanimous decision to recommend NHS members in England oppose this outcome by backing industrial action. We have committed to try and work jointly with other trade unions to coordinate a response – we are holding off committing to a specific timeline until we see if we can reach that joint position.

What we know

The PRB has recommended that every NHS pay point should increase by £1,400. This announcement covers all NHS staff groups other than doctors. The PRB have also recommended that staff in Band 6 and 7 should get 4% instead of £1,400, where this is higher. The government has accepted those recommendations.

We will add answers to frequently asked questions as more detail emerges, so please check our website for the latest.

This outcome falls well short of inflation, currently at 9.4% on the CPI measure and 11.7% on the RPI measure, with average energy bills alone rising £1,800 since your last pay award.

This means once again the PRB process and the government’s decisions have left NHS staff with another real-terms pay cut.

And because the government would not negotiate with us this is not a pay ‘offer’– the government will move to implement it whether or not you want to accept it.

Our position in this pay round

Working with other trade unions UNISON set out our position to the PRB earlier this year, calling not only for an inflation-busting pay increase, but for serious work to improve the overall pay system, ending poor practice with job banding and a failure to properly recognise additional hours.

Next steps

The government does not want to negotiate. It intends to implement this award, whether or not you think it is acceptable. You might see others describe this as a “deal” or an “offer.” It is neither of those things and that has an impact on how we involve you in responding.

It will be up to you and hundreds of thousands of other UNISON members to choose whether you want to challenge the government to do better. Better for staff, better for patients, better for an NHS which is on its knees after years of under-staffing.

The government had a chance to put NHS pay right so that the service could keep desperately needed staff and attract new ones. But it has chosen not to act.

We are the largest union in the NHS and we’re working closely together with 12 other NHS unions to co-ordinate how we respond.

UNISON’s lead committee of elected health workers has already met and decided to recommend NHS members in England oppose this outcome by backing industrial action. They will make more detailed assessments and decide how they will consult you on our next steps in the coming days.

So look out for emails from us, ensure that your UNISON record is up to date, and make sure your colleagues are joining UNISON if they’re not already members – by standing together we can achieve change.