The British government proposed, Thursday, March 16, a salary increase for several categories of agents of the public health system. This proposal, supported by some unions, could end several months of strikes in England. It "includes a salary increase for the year 2022-2023 and an agreement on salaries for the year 2023-2024", according to the government.
In a statement signed by the latter, the body in charge of remuneration within the public health system, the National Health Service (NHS), and members of the employee unions, it is specified that "both parties consider that this represents a fair and reasonable settlement that recognizes the dedication of NHS staff, as well as the wider economic pressures facing the UK.”
“Over a million NHS workers in England will receive an additional pay rise. »
Affected employees will receive an additional 2% bonus on their compensation for the current fiscal year (April 2022-April 2023), on top of the 4% increase first decided. They will also receive a single payment, the amount of which will depend on their seniority, but will be at least 1,250 pounds (1,425 euros). Finally, salaries for next year (April 2023-April 2024) will increase by 5%.
"It's not a panacea but it is tangible progress"
The various unions involved in the negotiations must now submit this proposal to the vote of their members. The Unite union has already made it known that it "would not recommend" its members to accept it. Conversely, the RCN, the nurses' union, announced in a press release that it "will recommend that its members vote to approve this offer". "It's not a panacea, but it's tangible progress," said its general secretary, Pat Cullen.
Hospital doctors, who were on strike this week and did not participate in the negotiations, are not included in the proposal. Nurses and other health workers have been calling for pay rises for months to deal with inflation that is over double digits in the country. Nurses have gone on strike several times since December, the first in over a hundred years.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hailed the proposal, calling it "sustainable for taxpayers" and enabling the government "to deliver on my promise to reduce inflation." "We have taken a reasonable approach from the start," he added, responding to criticism from the opposition and trade unions of the "delays and time taken" to find a solution that has resulted in numerous strikes in the country. They have further disrupted a health service already damaged by the consequences of the pandemic and the lack of staff.
A day after the government presented the budget, Health Minister Steve Barclay did not say how the pay rises will be funded, but told British media that it would not lead to savings. about services that "treat patients".