UK healthcare pay proposal to be applied as strike threat remains

May 4, 2023 : More than one million National Health Service workers in England will acquire a pay rise after trade unions representing most employees in a long-running conflict voted to accept a deal recently.

The proposal covers nurses, paramedics, midwives, and other employees in England, including a one-off payment equal to 2% of wages in the 2022/23 financial year and a 5% pay upgrade for 2023/24.

Associates had accepted the proposal at the most prominent union concerned, UNISON, and three others. Still, Unite and the Royal College of Nursing declined the offer and planned further strike activity.

Health minister Steve Barclay spoke it was the final offer and the judgment by the NHS Staff Council, which includes delegates from NHS employers and trade unions, to take it showed a majority accepted it was “fair and fit.”

“Where some associations may choose to remain in dispute, we hope their associates will recognise this as a fair outcome that carries the approval of their colleagues and determine it is time to bring industrial activity to an end,” Barclay told.

The controversy over a demand for pay deals that better reflect an inflation acceleration above 10% has resulted in hundreds of thousands of NHS employees taking strike action over the last few months, adding pressures on the health care assistance.

The leader of health at UNISON, Sara Gorton, expressed the pay rise must be executed as soon as practicable.

“This wage deal must be the start of something new in the NHS. There cannot be a replay of the past few months,” she declared.

The NHS Confederation, which depicts organizations across the healthcare sector, accommodated the vote but said health leaders stayed concerned about the prospect of further industrial shifting.

Unite told the vote would not stop its members from persisting their strike effort, while tens of thousands of junior physicians are still involved in a different dispute with the government over wages.

In a note to Barclay, the RCN confirmed that it still intended to ballot its associates later this month over a new strike action between June and December.