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Health workers have had enough of being patronised by this government and are starting to demand that they are properly rewarded for their work

There recent announcement of pay rises for some (by no means all) public sector workers have angered many NHS workers who feel they have been left out

UNISON has responded by leading the group of 14 recognised health unions in demanding that pay talks are started now

We are calling on the government to move NHS pay forward by:

  • Committing to immediate discussions on pay;
  • Recognising the importance of tackling vacancies across the NHS;
  • Delivering an early deal that reaches members’ pockets before 2021, helping to retain staff;
  • Integrating an NHS pay deal into plans to boost local economies;
  • Guaranteeing additional funding for employers and to cover meaningful early pay increases – with the flow-through to devolved funding arrangements allowing all parts of the UK to move forward on NHS pay.
  • Additional funding should also be provided via commissioners to ensure all staff who provide NHS services receive a meaningful pay rise.

UNISON commissioned an opinion poll, published on Wednesday 29th July, which shows that over two-thirds of the UK public back an early pay rise for NHS staff to be paid by the end of this year and that there is strong support for that rise to be substantial. The Health SGE believes a claim for £2,000 on all pay points is a significant, clear and credible ask which reflects our One Team values and has substantial support across UNISON’s membership. We have taken this position into ongoing discussions with the other health unions about a joint pay claim but it would appear that RCN and GMB have preferred their own claims of 12.5% and 15% respectively

Staff and campaigners continue to take matters into their own hands and have called for a second day of action on Saturday 12th September. Unions have shied away from calling demonstrations or gathering of any kind due to possible infection risks, and of course mass gatherings are against public health advisement. Demonstrations like the one in Plymouth https://www.facebook.com/events/232043288085013?acontext=%7B%22source%22%3A5%2C%22action_history%22%3A[%7B%22surface%22%3A%22page%22%2C%22mechanism%22%3A%22main_list%22%2C%22extra_data%22%3A%22%5C%22[]%5C%22%22%7D]%2C%22has_source%22%3Atrue%7D are not called by UNISON or any other health union so we cannot guarantee safety etc. However we recognise that some members will want to attend so if you do please do your best to observe social distancing, wear a mask, wash you hands etc. As health workers we all know the drill.

Even in the best of circumstances only a minority of people can join demonstrations but there are many other ways you can join the campaign.

You can lobby your MP to sign up to https://edm.parliament.uk/early-day-motion/57283/early-pay-rise-for-nhs-staff before they head off on their va/stay-cations.

You can use social media to raise the profile of the campaign. Check out Plymouth in UNISON on Facebook and Plymouth UNISON on twitter for ideas. This graphic has got a lot of attention

And of course you can make sure that all you colleagues are in UNISON. Membership = Power in the workplace to deliver effective action, and that is what will really count at the negotiating table.

There will be more ideas coming soon