NHS unions were today criticised for ‘whingeing’ about receiving a 3% pay rise as police and teachers pointed out that they had been given nothing despite also serving on the frontlines throughout the pandemic.
Unions have been raging about the increase for nurses and other staff, which will be backdated to April, demanding up to 15 per cent after coronavirus heaped pressure on services.
The British Medical Association and the Royal College of Nursing are among the groups that have said they are looking at industrial action over the long-awaited settlement, which was trebled from an original offer of 1 per cent on the recommendation of a review body.
Yet amid a backlash, officers took to Twitter to complain of unfairness. Craig Symons tweeted: ‘So NHS staff have had a 12% pay rise over three years followed by another 3%….15% in total and the unions are still whining it’s not enough. Spare a thought for the police who have been given nothing!!!’
But today police officers took to Twitter to point out they had received ‘nothing’, with some criticising health workers for ‘whingeing’
A retired West Midlands police sergeant wrote: ‘Police pay and conditions have been eroded for the last thirty years, this doesn’t come as a surprise to me. It’s a pay cut, a ‘’thank you’’ to all those officers maintaining the Queen’s peace during a pandemic. Disgraceful. Also sick of hearing the whingeing NHS moan about their 3%.’
A second former officer also joined the debate, adding: ‘Haven’t the NHS just been offered a 3% pay rise and they are looking to go on strike. What about us. What about the frontline police officer out there everyday. Nothing but a pay freeze to pay for the government’s c***ups along the way.’
Meanwhile, another Twitter user, Matthew Robinson, said: ‘People moan that the NHS should have a bigger rise yet teachers were also looking after NHS staff’s kids throughout the pandemic…’
It came as ministers today dismissed strike threats over a 3 cent pay rise for the NHS – pointing out taxpayers have spent £350billion fighting the pandemic and other public sector workers are facing a freeze.
In a round of interviews this morning Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng stressed that the NHS was being made a special case with the public finances in tatters. Police and teachers earning more than £24,000 will see no increase this year.
The announcements came after the private sector started to show signs of wage recovery, following 16 months in which workers have seen their incomes battered by furlough, pay freezes and redundancy.
Mr Kwarteng told Sky News: ‘The independent review has recommended a 3 per cent increase and the Government has decided that we’ll go with the independent review.
‘I think that’s entirely fair. Obviously we’d like it to be more but you’ve got to remember we spent £350billion to deal with the pandemic. I think 3 per cent, which, after all, was what the independent review came up with, is a fair number.’
In cash terms, public sector pay has risen more steadily than private sector pay, which has seen significant dips during the pandemic and the Credit Crunch. The different types of jobs in each sector means that the overall pay level is not directly comparable in this chart
Those who will benefit from the health service pay boost include nurses, paramedics, consultants, dentists and salaried GPs, as well as domestic staff and other support workers.
They are being recognised for their ‘extraordinary efforts’ during an ‘unprecedented year’, the Department of Health and Social Care said.
Officials said the pay bump will mean an additional £1,000 a year for the average nurse, while porters and cleaners will receive around £540. It is expected to cost the government £2.1billion a year, with Downing Street saying the money will come from within existing budgets
However, unions have demanded a rise of at least five per cent, with surgeons and senior doctors threatening to strike for the first time in decades if demands are not met. The RCN has urged a 12.5 per cent hike.
Campaigners — including former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn — yesterday handed in an 800,000-strong petition to Downing Street demanding a 15 per cent boost.
Speaker Lindsay Hoyle today read the riot act to ministers over the shambolic manner in which the news emerged yesterday, with care minister Helen Whately making a statement to the House but failing to deliver the information that had been expected. It was then sent out in a press released by the Department of Health hours later.
Mr Hoyle issued a brutal rebuke before vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi addressed the House today, dismissing excuses that Sajid Javid was isolating after testing positive for Covid. ‘We have all got constituents who work for the NHS,’ Mr Hoyle said.
Mr Zahawi offered his apologies for the bungling.
This ONS chart shows that the private sector saw sharp falls in annual wage growth in the first quarter of last year, as the first lockdown wreaked havoc. In contrast the public sector continued to see steady wage growth
A 3 per cent rise for NHS staff would be above the latest rate of CPI inflation – although it has been rising fast
In a round of interviews this morning Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng stressed that the NHS was being made a special case with the public finances in tatters. Police and teachers earning more than £24,000 will see no increase this year
UK debt pile hits £2.2TRILLION – highest relative to GDP since 1961
The UK debt pile hit £2.2trillion last month – the highest relative to GDP since 1961 – but borrowing started to ease as the economy recovered. The government racked up another £22.8billion of liabilities, the second highest on record for June – but down from £28.2billion a year earlier.
Although the figure was slightly above the expectations of analysts, it was below the estimates from the OBR watchdog in the spring, giving Rishi Sunak some much-needed breathing room. In a worrying sign, the official data showed that the government spent £8.7billion on interest payments for its debts – up from just £2.7billion in June 2020 as rates have increased.
The Chancellor pointed to the huge package of support he had implemented to shore up jobs and businesses, but stressed he was taking ‘tough choices’ to get debt back under control. According to the Office for National Statistics, borrowing so far this financial year has reached £69.5billion since the end of March – £49.8billion less than the same period a year ago.
The Home Office confirmed last night that police officers will not be compensated for their work during the pandemic and will have their salaries capped until at least 2022.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: ‘This is in order to ensure fairness between public and private sector wage growth, as the private sector was significantly impacted by the Covid pandemic in the form of reduced hours, suppressed earnings growth and increased redundancies, whilst the public sector was largely shielded from these effects.’
And Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said there will be a pause to headline pay rises for teachers this year, which school leaders branded an insulting ‘slap in the face’.
In total, pay will be frozen for around 1.3million public sector workers earning more than £24,000 per year, but those in the lowest paid jobs will be given an annual rise of £250. The Police Federation of England and Wales called the move ‘a disgrace’.
Private sector workers were hit far harder by the pandemic and many will have gone without a pay rise last year, while the public sector saw salaries keep growing.
However, data shows wage growth is recovering this year from a low base as the economy bounces back.
Dr Tom Dolphin, a spokesman for the British Medical Association (BMA) and a consultant anaesthetist in central London, told Sky News that medics would consider the option of industrial action.
He said that ‘over the last 10 years, our pay has fallen in value by about a third’, adding that exhausted doctors were leaving the NHS.
Asked if workers would potentially consider industrial action, he said: ‘We’re not at that stage yet. What we’re going to be doing is we’re going to be sending out a survey to our members today and over the next week or so, to check and make sure that they are as angry and disappointed about this pay offer as we are at the BMA and if so what they’re prepared to do about it.
‘And industrial action will be on that list of things they might want to consider, and we’ll see what people are prepared to do to defend their pay.’
The amount of debt sat at an eye-watering £2.2trillion at the end of June, or around 99.7 per cent of GDP, the highest ratio since the 102.5 per cent recorded in March 1961
Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (left) joined protesters from the GMB trade union outside Downing Street yesterday where they delivered a petition signed by 800,000 people for better pay for NHS staff
Pat Cullen, interim general secretary of the RCN, told BBC Breakfast that the option of industrial action will be put to nurses next week in a consultative ballot ‘and they will decide’.
‘But, as their professional trade union, we will walk alongside them and their decision-making because nurses will do the best thing for patients,’ she said.
‘Whatever action they take, they will make sure their patients don’t suffer as a consequence, same way as they did in Northern Ireland two years ago when they took industrial action.
‘They did that for their patients and for patient safety and patient care, and they will do the same if they need to in any of the other countries, but they won’t do it at a whim, they will make measured and considered decisions, and we will work with them to make those decisions.’
Matt Kilcoyne, deputy director of the Adam Smith Institute, told MailOnline: ‘No responsible nurse or any NHS worker, knowing their duty to the care of their patients is paramount in their vocation, would surely go on strike over something they consider so grubby as a pay dispute over an inflation busting increase of 3 per cent?
‘Surely not during what could see thousands hospitalised and in desperate need of their care? Surely not when they have the most financially secure jobs in the country, paid for by those whose jobs remain in the balance of us seeing out this disease and rebuilding our society. Lives are on the line and nurses know that when they are, you do your part.’