Public sector pay rise: which workers are affected?

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More than a million NHS workers, including nurses, paramedics and midwives, will receive a pay rise of at least £1,400, with low earners receiving up to 9.3%, the government has announced.

Eligible dentists and doctors receive a 4.5% pay increase, while other awards include a 5% increase for police officers.

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But health unions said the announcement amounts to a real pay cut

As it stands, the stream The UK inflation rate is 9.1%however, the Bank of England forecasts it could hit more than 11% later in the year.

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Which employees are affected by the salary increase in the public sector?

The public sector comprises a large number of workers, with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimating that the sector employs 5.7 million people in the UK.

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In short the public sector is responsible for the delivery of all public services in the UK such as:

  • education
  • emergency services
  • healthcare
  • Housing
  • garbage collection
  • social care

The pay rise will affect one in four civil servants, with Downing Street providing a list of occupations for which public sector payrolls will be reported on Tuesday.

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A doctor reviews patient notes at the NHS Seacole Center at Headley Court, Surrey. (Photo by Victoria Jones-WPA Pool/Getty Images)
  • school teacher
  • Health workers under the Agenda for Change contract (including nurses)
  • doctors
  • dentists
  • police officers
  • The armed forces
  • prison officials
  • NHS very senior managers
  • the judiciary
  • senior officials
  • Senior Military
  • police
  • detective inspectors

What are the salary increases?

The Government said it had fully accepted the recommendations of the independent NHS paycheck bodies, adding that the pay rise recognizes the contribution of NHS staff while balancing the need to protect taxpayers, manage public spending and fight inflation not to push up.

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Low-income earners, such as porters and cleaners, will see a 9.3% increase in their base wages this year compared to last year, the Health Ministry said.

The average basic salary for nurses will increase from around £35,600 to around £37,000 from March 2022 and the basic salary for newly qualified nurses will increase by 5.5% to £27,055 from £25,655 last year.

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Dentists and doctors get a 4.5% pay rise and the police get a 5% pay rise.

The government said across the public sector these were the highest pay rises in nearly 20 years.

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Transport Secretary Grant Shapps had argued that public sector wages could not rise with inflation as it could eat up savings and the incomes of other workers.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps arrives at 10 Downing Street (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

When asked about suggestions that would limit pay rises for public sector workers to around 5%, well below inflation, he told LBC radio: “We don’t want to allow inflation to get out of control.

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“When that happens, you get into a vicious circle where it erodes people’s incomes, it erodes people’s savings.

“This is a spike going through the system caused by Putin’s war in Ukraine and the big fuss that fuel supplies, for example, have had.

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“It’s very important that we don’t chase this inflation or we’ll be permanently poorer, and so the plan to get us back on track as quickly as possible is important – and wage increases need to reflect that.”

What do the unions say about the salary increase?

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This is what various unions said about the awards before the government approved the wage increases.

harmony

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Unison’s health chief Sara Gorton said: “This is nowhere near what is needed to save the NHS.

“Demoralized and exhausted health workers needed to know that ministers are serious about solving the workforce crisis and investing in the future. The way there led via a significant salary bonus.

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“With the pandemic barely behind us and the cost of living catastrophe mounting, NHS staff, their bank accounts and healthcare services are empty.

“The government has shown it is willing to watch as waiting lists grow, ambulance call times lengthen and patient suffering increases.

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“Many will seriously consider industrial action following this pathetic surge, and a majority of the public will be behind them.

“Ministers cannot continue to allow wages to fall and expect staff to still be there. The simple formula for hiring and retaining enough staff to cover the backlog of treatments and avoid a damaging dispute is to ensure NHS staff get a decent pay rise. That’s not it.”

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GMB

GMB’s Laurence Turner said: “A bid below inflation is a cut by any other name. Recruitment and retention problems across the public sector are now severe, and ministers are not investing in the services needed for economic recovery.

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“NHS real wages have fallen by 15% since 2010 and workers are risking their lives to protect patients. Key workers have been forced into loans and food banks to make ends meet – they deserve so much more than that.

“GMB will now elect our members to offer, but there should be no doubt – everyone has their breaking point and without a fundamental change we will not be able to deliver the public services the country needs.”

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Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said: “The Government has promised rewards for the commitment of public sector workers during the pandemic. What they have delivered instead is actually a kick in the teeth.

“The so-called wage offer amounts to a massive nationwide wage cut. We anticipated the inevitable betrayal, but the scale is an affront.

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“During the pandemic, public sector workers have rightly been heralded as heroes. They were sent out to deal with the pandemic and did so despite the looming dangers they faced. Now they are being asked to pay for the crisis with this national pay cut.”

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Elaine Sparkes, Deputy Director of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, said: “NHS staff have made it clear that such a wage premium is far from enough in the current climate, falling significantly below current and projected levels of inflation.

“We told the government that – as did tens of thousands of people who took to the streets last month demanding a fair deal for workers.

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“But it’s still carrying on with an accolade that will reduce the real value of wage carry-over for health workers and potentially jeopardize patient care as the staffing crisis deepens in the NHS.

“Healthcare unions will now advise members on what action they would like to take to ensure that the exceptional efforts of NHS workers are properly rewarded.”

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A nurse fills a syringe with Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination center (Photo by GEOFF CADDICK/AFP via Getty Images)

NHS employers

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, which is part of the NHS Confederation, said: “We welcome a pay increase for hardworking and overworked NHS staff, above the originally budgeted 3% increase.

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“However, NHS and public health leaders must not be put in the impossible position of having to choose which benefits to cut to fund the extra surge.

“NHS employers have only been allocated enough money to give staff a 3% increase. So if the additional increase is not funded by the Treasury, this will very worryingly have to be drawn from existing budgets and will mean an estimated unplanned deficit of £1.8bn. ”

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An illuminated sign thanking the NHS is pictured on the Olympic Way, the road to Wembley Stadium in London on March 26, 2020 (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

unite

Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham said: “The Government has promised rewards for the commitment of public sector workers during the pandemic. What they have delivered instead is actually a kick in the teeth.

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“The so-called wage offer amounts to a massive nationwide wage cut. We anticipated the inevitable betrayal, but the scale is an affront.

“During the pandemic, public sector workers have rightly been heralded as heroes. They were sent out to deal with the pandemic and did so despite the looming dangers they faced. Now they are being asked to pay for the crisis with this national pay cut.”

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NASUWT Teachers Union

Patrick Roach, general secretary of teachers’ union NASUWT, said: “If the government is hoping that teachers’ anger will dissipate over the summer break, they are wrong.

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“A wage below inflation would be another pay cut for hard-working teachers.

Sixth grade students listen to their teacher when classes return (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

“The government deliberately withheld the report of the Pay Review Board until the end of the school year, once again showing its contempt for the profession.

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“Teachers have been badly failed by this administration for more than a decade and only a commitment to a program to restore teachers’ salaries can win the trust, confidence and morale of the profession.”

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