On Thursday 13th March 2014 the Government announced that only staff that are at the top of their pay band would receive a ‘non consolidated’ 1% pay uplift for 2014/15 and staff who are receiving increments would not get the 1% pay uplift.
The Government have also said that they will take the same approach for 2015/16 and staff who are at the top of their pay band will receive a 2% uplift which will also be ‘non-consolidated’ and again staff who are still receiving increments will not receive an uplift. They have said that because the announcement is for two years they will not ask the NHS Pay Review Body to report in 2015.
This means that about 600,000 NHS staff will not receive the 1% pay uplift that was promised to them by the Government. Additionally, the 1% pay uplift is a ‘non consolidated’ award which means that staff will only receive the payment for one year then it will be taken away. So therefore when staff receive the 2% uplift in 2015 that will not include the 1% uplift they will have received in 2014 as this will have been taken away.
The ‘non consolidated’ award only applies to basic pay, so will not apply to high cost area supplements, unsocial hours or on call payments. In addition, the 1% is not pensionable.
The 1% uplift will be paid from April 2014.
This offer applies to England and Wales, Scotland will pay the full 1% to all staff and Northern Ireland are yet to announce what uplift they will pay.
Why is this important?
This is about more than just a 1% pay uplift, this is an unprecedented attack on the NHS pay structure.
The Government have made it clear that they do not agree with incremental progression in the NHS and this is their attempt to end incremental progression. Additionally, non consolidated awards are essentially a move towards a bonus style pay structure with uplifts that are only temporary and do not get awarded to everyone. This moves the NHS closer to performance related pay. And finally, this is a very clear attack on the Pay Review Body, the Government have put constraints on them since 2010 but this is the first time they have rejected their recommendations and have stood down the PRB for next year.
What is the RCM doing?
The RCM responded quickly to the condemn the announcement. We had interviews on Sky News, BBC News and Radio Five Live as well as being quoted in The Guardian, The Mirror, The Metro, The Independent and many other newspapers.
We have clearly stated that this is not good enough and the Government needs to honour their own promise and the recommendations of the Pay Review Body. We will meet with other NHS trade unions to coordinate activity and we will start the preparation to consult our members about taking industrial action.
We have made it clear that midwives and maternity support workers have been hit hard by the cost of living crisis and they deserve a fair pay rise. They have had three years of pay restraint in the NHS; are about to have a third year of increases to their pension contributions; in England they have agreed reductions to their terms and conditions and we are just starting to consult with members in Wales about changes to their terms and conditions. On top of this, midwives have seen an increase to their NMC registration fees that they have to pay in order to be able to practice as a midwife. Enough is enough.
Morale is already rock bottom in maternity services, the shortage of midwives and the rising birth rate means midwives are working harder than ever before without any reward. When morale is low and staff are disaffected they are not able to give the best care.
We are particularly concerned that this pay announcement hits newly qualified and younger staff the hardest as they are denied their annual uplift just because they are not yet at the top of their pay band. Staff receive incremental progression for increased knowledge, skills and experience and it is not a substitute for an annual uplift. Incremental progression saves the NHS money because it rewards increasing experience rather than just starting everyone at the top of their pay band. Newly qualified midwives have joined a profession that is desperately understaffed to provide essential care for women and babies and this decision could seriously damage the morale of enthusiastic new midwives and at worse cause them to leave midwifery and detract others from joining the profession.
Not only has the decision hit younger staff the hardest, the NHS has also been singled out with all the other public sector groups are getting the 1% uplift for all staff apart from the NHS, which is a female dominated workforce.
What happens next?
We have clearly stated that this is not good enough and the Government needs to honour their own promise and the recommendations of the Pay Review Body.
We will meet with other NHS trade unions to coordinate activity and we will start the preparation to consult our members about taking industrial action.
In the meantime we are urging the Government to rethink their decision and pay hard working midwives and maternity support workers a 1% uplift on their pay.
What can RCM members do right now?
Check your membership details: In order to ballot for industrial action we will need to make sure your details are correct, in particular your employer and workplace.
You can check and update your details by logging in to ‘My RCM’ here or ring 0300 303 0444.
You can read our 2013 submission to the NHS Pay Review Body here.
Download the Pay Salary Scales below -
Pay Review Body submissions and responses can be downloaded below -