The culture of ‘pay greed’ for senior NHS managers, while a million frontline staff face the prospect of no pay rise next year, will be condemned by Unite, the country’s largest union, tomorrow (Thursday 14 November).
This is the message that Unite’s head of health Rachael Maskell will give to the union’s health activists meeting for their biennial health sector conference in Brighton tomorrow.
She will highlight the hypocrisy of health secretary Jeremy Hunt floating the prospect of a million NHS workers getting no pay rise next year, given that the treasury clawed back £1.4 billion from the NHS budget in 2011-12.
Rachael Maskell will say: “About £1.4 billion has been handed back to the Treasury to bail out the financial mess created by the casino bankers.
“And, at the same time, 428 senior NHS managers are paid over £250,000, with senior managers having had an average uplift of 13 per cent since 2009.”
However, NHS staff have seen a 12 per cent pay cut in real terms since the coalition came to power in 2010, she said.
Further evidence that NHS employees have borne the brunt of the ‘cost of living’ crisis came this week from an independent survey of Unite members which showed that health workers have experienced the biggest fall in spending power, with a massive £233 drop as government pay cuts and rising costs erode family budgets.
Rachael Maskell will tell delegates: “The culture of pay greed has now pervaded the NHS, and Whitehall does not want you to have even one per cent for your extraordinary contribution to caring for patients this year.
“One per cent for some of our members will mean no more than £10 a month increase, less than 50p a day, compared to the £250,000 wages of some.
“We are launching a campaign this autumn on fair pay in the NHS focusing on pay inequality. If we are honest, percentage increases have provided the benefit for those at the top of the pay spine, and have not helped those at the bottom, widening pay inequality.
“Unite was the only union this year to argue at the pay review body for an equal pay increase for all NHS staff.
“We have to seriously question why some people believe that they are worth over 10 times the value of others, in a system where the person who washes you adds as much to your care as the person who operates on you.
“We have to ask why a HR director is valued so much higher than a speech therapist.”
For further information please contact Rachael Maskell on 07768 693933 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.