Nurses’ and midwives’ pay is set to drop by thousands of pounds compared to predicted levels of inflation by 2020, according to an analysis published by the union TUC.
Nurses’ pay is set to drop £2,656 (9.3%) in real terms over five years – from £28,462 in 2015/16 to the equivalent of £25,806 in 2020/21 – according to the data, which was released yesterday (18 January).
Midwives, on the other hand, will see their pay fall in real terms by £3,288 to £31,937 during the same period, the data said.
The TUC said the pay levels it mentions in the data were taken from the top of a pay scale in each job as they are listed in the NHS Agenda for Change paygrades.
The TUC said the drop in real pay is due to the Government’s pay increase cap of 1% per year for public sector workers. This approach means that wages cannot meet with the rising cost of living, it said.
‘Bills to pay’
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Everyone in the UK has bills to pay, and it’s only fair that wages should at least keep up with rising living costs. Workers in the public sector are already feeling the squeeze, and it seems like there’s worse to come.
“Government pay restrictions hurt staff in overstretched public services, and make it even harder to recruit good people. Particularly at a time of crisis in the NHS, we need to be recruiting the best people for the job.
“It’s time for ministers to give public employers the freedom to negotiate with unions for pay in their sectors.”
The union is proposing that the public sector should be able to determine appropriate pay by itself, rather than being subject to a cap.
It also called on the Government to raise low public sector pay and become a “real living wage employer”.
Petition reaches 100,000 signatures
The news comes just a day after the RCN announced that an online petition to scrap the NHS pay cap has reached 100,000 signatures – meaning that the Government now has to debate the issue in the House of Commons.
The online petition was started by community nurse Danielle Tiplady.
The debate will take place on Monday 30 January in the House of Commons and will be led by Catherine McKinnell MP, the RCN said.
The RCN will be providing members with materials to promote the debate, as well as encouraging MPs to attend, it added.
Janet Davies, RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary, said: “This is a monumental step in our campaign to ‘Scrap the Cap’.
“Working at the centre of the NHS crisis, nursing staff are going above and beyond every single day, yet they have endured the public sector pay cap since 2010. This has left them 14% worse off in real terms, and more and more of our members are telling us they are reaching breaking point.
“This petition shows just how many people support our call to lift this pay cap once and for all. Thank you to everyone who has helped so far, it really is an incredible achievement.
“We will continue to fight until all nursing staff receive the pay they truly deserve.”