National Health Service staff in England have accepted a pay deal worth 6.5% over three years in a move bound to increase civil servants’ dissatisfaction with the ongoing application of the 1% pay cap to their salaries.
NHS Employers announced on Friday that health service unions had voted to approve the cap-busting offer for its more-than one million employees, excluding doctors, and that the increased rates – plus back payments to the start of the current financial year – could be applied as soon as next month.
The news came as the civil service’s biggest union, PCS, revealed that the Cabinet Office was still “budgeting for 1%” and had told union negotiators that “any pay rises would have to come from individual departmental savings”.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said members felt “misled and betrayed” following the assurances from ministers that the 1% pay-cap policy – introduced in 2012 after a two-year freeze – was ending and money would be found to reward staff for their hard work.
Serwotka said it was clear that the government was “not interested” in a negotiated settlement and signalled the union would mobilise for a summer of industrial action following the strike ballot that is due to run from June 18 to July 23.
Friday also saw the union representing local authority chief executives and senior managers announce that it had secured a 2% rise for its members, double the 1% one-year deal that Local Government Employers had previously offered.
Tracey Lee, who chairs the Association of Local Authority Chief Executives, said the deal was for 2% in the current financial year and 2% in April 2019.
“This matches the increase for the generality of local government staff which has already been agreed,” she said.
“I am delighted that the employers listened carefully to our messages and improved their offer, which nevertheless represents a modest real terms reduction in pay for 2018 as the Consumer Prices Index remains above 2%.”
Lee, who is chief executive at Plymouth City Council, said the improved offer had followed a meeting at the end of May at which the union had detailed the pressures that heads of paid service faced in “leading their organisations through very challenging times”.