Monday, April 07, 2008

Is 2.75% the key to happiness?

Just as I got round to remarking on the absence of a pay offer in health, what should come along this morning but a pay offer

This is being spun as a good offer “highest in the public sector”.

Well the highest hill in the South Downs is the highest hill in the South Downs but that still doesn’t make it a mountain.

As set out on the UNISON website;

The proposed deal gives 2.75% in the first year.In year 2 it gives 2.54%. It also establishes for all NHS staff a new minimum wage of £6.77 an hour in that year, that is 18% higher than the statutory rate. Those on the lowest point will receive an increase of 5.7%.In the third year the proposed deal gives 2.5%. It includes a flat rate increase of £420 (worth 3.17% at the lowest point) for the bottom three grades.

Karen Jennings says that “we will be asking our executive to consider recommending this deal to members as a well-balanced package in the forthcoming consultation.”

I would have thought that that was a decision for the Service Group Executive (or indeed – since it meets next week, having regard to Rule D.3.4.2 – the Service Group Conference).

The first year of the deal falls well short of the rate of increase in the cost of living – and so is a pay cut in real terms. As to the subsequent years it is obviously impossible to know what will happen with price inflation, which could well fall if we enter a recession.

I guess we need to spend a little time looking at the details of this offer – and I will listen in particular to the views of my fellow NEC members who represent the Health Service Group when I see them later this week.

My initial view is that a three year deal which starts with a rise below the rate of price inflation is not one that we should be welcoming quite so enthusiastically…


Anonymous said...

2.75%? Well, it's not great. It doesn't reflect current RPI. It's an insult. Esp as the MPs, also public servants (whose wages our taxes also pay for!), seek increases in excess of £20k each....
I think we have to fight this one out. Our wages are low enough as it is, without the continuing neo-liberal stance that public sector workers should be under the kosh.

Kate Ahrens said...

UNISON has declared that an offer of 2.45% is "hugely disappointing" and yet an award only 0.3% higher is apparently fantastic.

Some mistake surely??

Its clear that this three year deal comes nowhere near meeting UNISON's demand of a significant pay rise above the rate of inflation.

There will doubtless be much debate on this at next weeks UNISON Health Conference and I would certainly welcome the conference being the body that decides what recommendations go out to the membership.

Nick said...

"A well-balanced package"? Only in the sense that it's a crap offer for this year, next year and the year after. Disturbingly, Gill George, Amicus Unite NEC member, reports on her blog that UNISON and RCN negotiators walked out of joint union talks in order to go to cook this deal up directly with the Government. This doesn't bode well for the rest of the pay campaign...

I've written more on the implications of the proposal for health conference and the SGE back at, so feel free to drop by and discuss it there.