GMB vote to accept latest NHS staff pay offer

Ambulance workers from the GMB union outside the Houses of Parliament (File) (PA Wire)
Ambulance workers from the GMB union outside the Houses of Parliament (File) (PA Wire)

NHS workers in the GMB union have accepted the Government’s offer aimed at resolving the long running pay dispute.

Members voted by 56 per cent in favour of the deal, on a 51 per cent turnout.

The deal involves a 5 per cent wage rise this year and a cash payment for last year.

The GMB said it will now vote to accept the offer at a meeting of the NHS Staff Council next week which would pave the way for the pay rise to be implemented by the Government to all health workers covered by the agreement.

GMB national officer Rachel Harrison said: “This new pay offer would not have happened without the strike action taken by ambulance and other GMB health workers.

“GMB members have voted to accept the offer, which means GMB union will vote in favour of the pay offer at the NHS joint staff council meeting next week.

“Our members recognise that progress has been made – from the Government originally offering nothing, health workers will be thousands of pounds better off.

“It also meets a key GMB demand of a huge pay uplift for the lowest paid, lifting them above the Real Living Wage.”

Unite earlier rejected the Government’s offer, saying the result showed very high figures of rejection for grades mostly in frontline services with patients.

The union said seven out of 10 ambulance paramedics rejected the deal, and three-quarters of staff at the West Midlands Ambulance Trust rejected it. Workers at Guy’s and St Thomas’ rejected the deal by the same figure, while Yorkshire Ambulance Trust staff rejected it by two-thirds.

Unite said previously announced strikes by more than 4,000 NHS workers across England who have a mandate for industrial action will now go ahead.

General secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite was clear from the start it was very unlikely this offer would be accepted.

“It is quite frankly a joke that NHS workers are being forced to fight for a decent pay rise after years of pay freezes and all their sacrifices during the pandemic.

“The Government should be delivering generous rewards for that instead of a parade of insults, bullying and lies about our industrial action. Unite will be backing our NHS members 100%.

“Unite’s members will now return to the picket line to continue their fight.

“Rishi Sunak now needs to take over this mess, roll his sleeves up and sort it. Isn’t that what a Prime Minister is supposed to do - lead, for goodness sake?”

Members of the Royal College of Nursing also rejected the offer but health workers in other unions, including Unison, have accepted it.

Unite members at Guys and St Thomas’ Trust in south London, and the Yorkshire Ambulance Trust, will go ahead with a strike on Monday, the union announced.

Its members at South Central, South East Coast and West Midlands ambulance trusts alongside workers at Christies NHS Foundation Trust, Christies Pathology Partnership, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust will strike on Tuesday.

NHS workers will take part in a protest march in central London on Monday.

Unite said the UK Government’s offer did not match the higher settlement approved by its members in Scotland.

Under the terms of the current offer, a paramedic on a band 6 salary in England will be paid almost £3,500 less per year than a corresponding worker in Scotland, the union said.

Unite national officer Onay Kasab said: “It is increasingly clear that there is money to fund a fair pay rise, particularly from properly taxing the huge increases in profits made from the cost-of-living crisis by corporate profiteers.

“The Government is choosing to let the NHS collapse. It must make the right decision, return to negotiations and put forward a better deal.”