The government’s desire to see NHS pay capped at one per cent has been branded as ‘callous and an enormous slap in the face’ for the NHS workforce that has, literally, given their lives during the pandemic,  Unite, Britain and Ireland’s largest union, said tonight (Thursday 4 March).

Unite was responding to the news that the government’s evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body was recommending a one per cent rise for 2021-22.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “The government’s evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body, due to report in May, saying that it wants the pay of NHS staff pegged at one per cent is callous and takes no account of the public mood.

“During the pandemic, NHS staff were on the frontline 24/7 saving patients’ lives and caring for the dying. More than 620 NHS and social care staff lost their lives to Covid-19.

“Boris Johnson and health and social care secretary Matt Hancock were keen that we all clapped every week, but when it comes to them reflecting a nation’s deep appreciation in the form of a decent pay rise, they have been shown to be sadly lacking.

“The prime minister owes his life to dedicated NHS staff and now he has delivered an enormous slap in the face to health workers.

“The public will be incensed by this announcement as they have shown wonderful support to the NHS during this national crisis.

“The government has badly misjudged public opinion on this issue, especially given the vast sums splashed out in controversial contracts for PPE to those with close links to the Tory establishment.

“Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, will continue to make the case strongly that NHS staff, deserve an immediate pay rise of £3,000-a-year or 15 per cent, whichever is greater.

“Even this figure won’t start to make up for the 19 per cent decrease in pay in real terms that many NHS workers have lost since the Tories came to power in 2010. Tonight is one of shame for this morally bankrupt government.”



Notes to editors:


For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065.