In an open letter sent to the PRB today (Thursday), UNISON expressed the anger and disappointment of NHS staff at its recommendation to continue with a one per cent cap on wages. This is the fourth consecutive year that the PRB have imposed real terms pay cuts upon dedicated, hardworking NHS staff and their families.
Matt McLaughlin, UNISON Scotland’s head of health, said: “UNISON is Scotland’s largest health union and we see firsthand the impact of the pay cap on health staff. NHS staff have suffered a pay cap for the past four years and in that time have seen their take-home pay fall by a massive 14 per cent.
“The sad reality is that hospitals will struggle to keep skilled workers unless they’re rewarded with decent pay and it’s patients who will suffer as a result. Our NHS depends on having a dedicated team of staff with the right training to deliver the best standard of care.”
UNISON has criticised the PRB for choosing to endorse the Westminster Government’s austerity agenda. The union is calling for a firm commitment from the PRB to deliver fair pay for NHS staff and not to be bound by the government-imposed pay cap.
UNISON members and activists will meet at the Scottish Parliament to ‘Smash the Pay Freeze’ with a giant ice sculpture and will invite Shona Robison MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport to join them.
Tam Waterson, chair of UNISON Scotland’s health committee, said: “UNISON will continue to call for the NHS pay review to scrap the cap on pay for all NHS workers. Our members are at breaking point; whether it’s our low-paid members working extra jobs or our professional members relying on bank work as the gap grows between take home pay and household costs.
“Hard-working, dedicated NHS workers tell us time and again how they love working in the health service but are struggling to make ends meet – no matter how hard they work. It’s time to smash the pay freeze.”