Branch Secretary :

Unite calls for pay rise for NHS workers £3,000-a-year or 15%

Decade of pay austerity

Boris Johnson has been urged to open the government’s wallet and give NHS staff  a substantial pay rise to make up for a decade of pay austerity and in recognition of their role in the continuing battle against Covid-19.


Unite general secretary Len McCluskey has written to the prime minister to highlight the union’s demand for an early and significant pay rise for NHS workers of £3,000-a-year or 15 per cent, whichever is the greater.


The three-year NHS pay deal ends in April 2021, and health and social care secretary Matt Hancock has asked the NHS Pay Review Body (PRB) to report early next May on the award for 2021/2022.


Divide and rule


The PRB will be making its deliberations against a background of chancellor’s Rishi Sunak’s ‘divide and rule’ tactics on public sector pay when millions, such as teaching assistants, will be subject to a pay freeze, while NHS staff can expect an increase.


Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, called for the pay deal to be brought forward to compensate for the 19 per cent pay decrease in real terms for many NHS staff since 2010.


It is estimated that more than 620 NHS and social care staff have died during the pandemic.


Len McCluskey


In his letter to the prime minister, Len McCluskey said: “To hear the chancellor announce that NHS workers will receive a pay rise on one hand and on the other hand announce pay freezes for other public sector workers that are helping in the fight against pandemic is insulting and shows how much the government really values key public sector workers. 


“They are exhausted as they continue to serve during the second wave of the pandemic and as the most challenging of winter seasons approaches. Many NHS workers are struggling with their mental health, having battled to save people's lives and we must not forget, 600 of our number have died of Covid-19.  



“Please do whatever you can do in your power to expedite the NHS pay review process, so NHS workers will not have to wait for months.  I also ask for the reversal of the pay freeze for all the other public sector workers without delay.


“If the Scottish Government can commit to early pay discussions and to back date pay for NHS staff to December 2020, what stops the UK government making such a commitment?”


Commenting on the letter to Boris Johnson, Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said: “Boris Johnson needs to open the government’s wallet and truly recognise the magnificent contribution NHS staff have, are and  continue to make to keep us safe in dangerous and worrying times – the public will expect nothing less from the prime minister.


“It was only nine months ago that he was praising NHS staff to the hilt for saving his life – now is the time for him to translate warm words into a healthy pay rise.”


Before Posting

We welcome debate and discussion on our website, but we also want an open, respectful, inclusive space in which forms of abuse or personal attack will not be tolerated. Comments will be moderated and will be removed if they are found to be unduly offensive. You should also be very careful in posting information about your employer. Employers do visit the website and if you think a comment could get you into trouble for releasing confidential or sensitive information, or for bringing the employer into disrepute, please do not post it. It remains your individual responsibility to ensure that what you post is appropriate. Please therefore just give a moment's thought to what you are saying. The types of comments that are likely to be moderated are:

  • Personal abuse or attacks on an individual.
  • Information which breaches another person's right to confidentiality.
  • The use of offensive language, including swear words, or language which is racist, sexist, or otherwise breaches equalities standards.
  • Anything that might place the Branch or the wider union in legal jeopardy.
  • Adverts or information which is posted for commercial gain.

* Name
* Email (will not be published)
* field is required