GMB attacks Government’s NHS pay proposals

The
GMB union says the Government’s new pay deal for NHS staff is not enough.

The
deal, which affects 300,000 staff, including ambulance, ancillary, clerical,
scientific, professional and technical employees, is part of the Government’s
commitment to fair pay within the NHS.

But
GMB Scotland regional secretary, Robert Parker, said: "Our people have
been the Cinderellas of the NHS for years, languishing on low pay and poor
conditions. This increase, which we feel should have been greater, will help to
take them off the bottom of the heap, but only up to £4.47 an hour.

"That’s
a long way short of the magic fiver an hour we have obtained for our local
government members and short too of the fiver an hour we want to see introduced
by the chancellor as the new minimum wage in this country.

The
new deal will It will benefit NHS staff who are not covered by an independent
pay review body.

Pay
will be increased by a minimum of 3.6 per cent, which is in line with rises for
nurses and hospital doctors for this year, and other benefits will be extended.

The
pay deal will mean increases in line with nurses for the second consecutive
year, above inflation pay increases for staff for the fourth year running,
extra increases for around 30,000 ancillary staff and up to 6.5 per cent for
the lowest paid.

The
moves will give a new minimum hourly rate in the NHS of £4.47 (excluding
trainees), and a range of improvements for other staff groups, including extra
money (more than 7 per cent) for around 13,000 lower paid medical technical
officers and laboratory support staff, as well as some 10,000 administrative
and clerical staff.

Health
Minister John Hutton said: "These are fair and affordable rises for this
important group of NHS staff. It underlines our commitment to fair pay for all
NHS staff, and our willingness to take targeted action to tackle low pay and
specific problem areas where we know there are difficulties in recruiting and
retaining the right staff."

But
the GMB remains unconvinced. Parker said: "Recent inquiries into
infections in hospitals have all concluded that cleanliness is vital to keep
hygiene standards at the levels required to keep killer bugs at bay. This award
appears not to have taken this into account. £4.47 an hour is well below the
rate a hospital cleaner is worth."

By Paul Nelson

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