London NHS workers appeal for public support on pay, says UNISON

Tuesday 18 May 2021
For immediate release

London NHS workers appeal for public support on pay, says UNISON 

Health workers across London are appealing to the public this week to back their campaign so NHS staff can receive a proper pay rise before the summer, says UNISON today (Tuesday).

Over the next few days, hospital porters, clerical workers, cleaners, nurses, healthcare assistants and other NHS staff will be urging people to contact their local MPs to keep up the pay pressure on the government.

Health workers in Scotland will soon receive a wage rise – of at least 4% – backdated to December after the government there found extra resources to fund the increase.

NHS staff in the rest of the UK are not so fortunate, says UNISON. The Prime Minister insists everyone else must wait until the NHS pay review body reports, which won’t be until at least July.

Health workers were due a pay rise at the beginning of last month – almost seven weeks ago, says UNISON.

The union’s been making the case for a minimum wage boost of at least £2,000 for staff. The government’s suggested an increase of just 1%.

By now, NHS staff would be £250 better off if UNISON’s 2k pay claim had been implemented on 1 April.

Instead, staff feel increasingly taken for granted, worn out by the pandemic and overwhelmed at tackling the Covid backlog of cancelled appointments and operations. As a result, many may soon leave the NHS altogether, fears UNISON.

Although there’s now significantly fewer Covid patients in hospital than at the January peak, the pressure is still very much on staff, says UNISON.

Figures published last week show waiting lists are the longest ever. Across London, more than 241,000 people are now having to wait more than 18 weeks for treatment. Over 51,500 have been waiting over a year.

UNISON London head of health Jamie Brown said: “NHS staff have given their all during the pandemic. They’ll continue to do so to clear the backlog caused by Covid. But despite their incredible efforts, the government says a meagre 1% rise is all they’re worth.

“The length of waiting lists across London shows the huge challenges still facing the NHS. A decent wage increase paid soon could stop staff feeling unloved and taken for granted, and perhaps be enough to persuade many thinking of walking to stay.”

Staff in UNISON branches based in NHS hospitals, ambulance stations and clinics across London will be using social media and taking part in socially distanced events from now until Wednesday.

Notes to editors:
– A three-year deal for health workers expired on 31 March. They were due a pay rise at the beginning of April but are still waiting. The government’s evidence to the NHS pay review body proposed a 1% pay increase. The Prime Minister has told MPs to wait for the pay review body report and that the government won’t decide on pay until then. This means NHS staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are unlikely to get a pay rise until July at the earliest.
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union, with more than 1.3 million members providing public services in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.   

Media contacts:
Emma Davey M: 07432 733187 E: