The latest hike in inflation will further fuel the anger that NHS staff feel about the "derisory" three-year pay deal, Unite, the country’s largest union, said today.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) jumped to 4.7% in August - the highest level since records began in 1997. The Retail Price Index (RPI) fell slightly to 4.8%, despite surging food and energy costs – this was because the RPI takes into account a wider range of indices, including the downward pressure on house prices. The 2.75% being paid to NHS members this year is, therefore, a pay cut.
Members of Unite are currently being canvassed on a menu for industrial action options to reverse the government’s hardline stance on below-inflation pay awards for NHS staff.
Unite’s National Officer for Health, Dave Fleming said: "We have now held activist meetings throughout England and are moving on to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
"In all the meetings we have held so far, the mood is one of 'Enough is enough' and the feedback from the members is all about how we can take industrial action. It is 'when' - not 'if' – on the timing for such action. Members will be offered a menu of options in a ballot next month on exactly what action they may wish to take.
"The latest steep rise in inflation is another hammer-blow for NHS staff and their families in their struggle to pay the ever-increasing household bills."
The meetings are giving Unite activists the opportunity to say what type of industrial action they would be prepared to take in protest at the three-year 7.99% below-inflation pay deal imposed by the ministers earlier this year.