The majority of public want to see all NHS staff awarded with a ‘significant’ pay rise by the end of 2020, a new poll has revealed.
More than two-thirds (69%) said all NHS employees should be awarded a rise during 2020, according to a survey by Unison.
The union’s poll of more than 2,000 British adults found that two-thirds believe a wage increase should be significant, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Health workers are in the final year of a three-year deal and are due a pay rise in April, but unions want the government to bring it forward to this year.
The government announced a pay rise for 900,000 public sector workers last week – including teachers and police officers – but said that it would not apply to NHS staff except for doctors.
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The survey found that just one in 10 think health workers should wait until April for a rise.
Unison’s head of health Sara Gorton said: ‘Last week was the perfect opportunity for the government to show it’s in tune with public opinion and commit to an early pay rise for NHS staff.
‘It’s clear the public backs an early increase and to ignore them would be at the government’s own peril. Any attempt to deny staff a significant wage increase could rebound badly.
‘A wage increase needs sorting right away so the NHS is fit to face the winter ahead and all that may bring. It would help boost the economy too, as health workers spend the extra money in their pockets locally.
‘Health unions have made a clear and reasonable case – it’s down to the government to act and prove how much it values the NHS and its staff. Enough of hands together – people want to see hands in pockets, and now.’
Unite national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said: ‘Nursing staff and other allied health professionals have reacted with anger to being overlooked when pay rises were given to many in the public sector last week and the Government not hearing the health trade unions’ call to bring their pay rise forward from April 2021.
‘This sense of anger was heightened, especially in light of their work and sacrifices during the global pandemic which has taken the lives of more than 500 NHS and social care staff across the UK.’
Campaigners plan to march to Downing Street to protest against the government’s decision to wait until April, as part of a national movement calling for an immediate pay rise for all staff.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: ‘We are committed to supporting the entire NHS and social care workforce.
‘We are incredibly grateful for all their hard work and dedication during the pandemic and we will continue to ensure all staff are rewarded fairly.’