A proposed 1% pay rise for NHS nurses has been heavily criticised by union leaders and politicians.
The Unite union is among those saying the salary increase doesn’t go far enough following the efforts of workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
The union have since threatened industrial action as part of its campaign for an improved pay rise.
The government have defended the move saying the government can’t afford a greater salary hike due to the increased deficit caused by increased borrowing.
How much are nurses currently paid?
The Royal College of Nursing estimate that he average wage of a nurse is £33,384.
According to Prospects, fully qualified nurses start on £24,214 rising to £30,112 on Band 5 of the NHS Agenda for Change pay rates.
With experience these salaries can increase to in positions such as nurse team leader on Band 6 £30,401 to £37,267
At senior levels of nurse advanced, modern matron and nurse consultant (Bands 7 to 8c) the salaray range is £37,570 to £72,597.
How much would their pay increase under current government plans?
A 1% pay rise for the average nurse wage would be £333.84.
That amounts to £6.42 a week, or 17p per hour worked.
How many nurses died during the coronavirus pandemic?
On February 2 it was revealed that at least 230 frontline NHS staff have died with coronavirus during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This number is likely to be far lower than the actual number as those listed were frontline workers who had been named publicly.
What has government said about the pay rise?
Government ministers have defended the £6.42 a week pay rise.
Health Minister Nadine Dorries said the Government could not afford to give NHS staff in England a pay rise of more than 1% following the revelation that the figure has been submitted to the sector’s pay review body (PRB).
She gave a series of media interviews on Friday defending the Government’s position, saying nurses have received a 12% increase in pay over the last three years and the average nurse’s salary is around £34,000.
“Everybody in an ideal world would love to see nurses paid far more … but we are coming out of a pandemic where we have seen huge borrowing and costs to the Government,” she told Sky.
“I think it is important to note that the priority of the Government has been about protecting people’s livelihoods, about continuing the furlough scheme, about fighting the pandemic, and we’ve put huge effort into that.
“We do not want nurses to go unrecognised – or doctors – and no other public sector employee is receiving a pay rise, there has been a pay freeze.
“But the 1% offer is the most we think we can afford which we have put forward to the pay review body.”
How have unions responded?
Unite national officer for health, Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe, told the PA news agency: “Following yesterday’s kick-in-the-teeth announcement that the Government wants to peg NHS pay at 1% for 2021-22, Unite will be considering all its options, including the holding of an industrial action ballot, as our pay campaign mounts in the coming weeks.
“We will be fully consulting our members on the next steps, given that inflation could be 2% by the end of 2021, so what Prime Minister Boris Johnson is recommending is another pay cut in real terms.
“It shows an unyielding contempt by ministers for those who have done so much to care for tens of thousands of Covid-19 patients in the last year.
“The public is rightly outraged by a Government that can spend £37 billion on the flawed private sector Test and Trace programme, but can’t find the cash for a decent pay rise for those on the NHS front line.
“Public opinion will be key in shaming the Government into changing its recommendations to the NHS Pay Review Body.
“Chancellor Rishi Sunak will suffer severe reputational damage if he fails to deliver the money necessary to fund a decent pay rise after a decade of austerity that has seen the pay packets of many NHS staff shrink by 19% in real terms since the Tories came to power in 2010.”