NHS strikes paused after new pay offer

Planned East of England strikes for 20 March have been put on pause after the government made a new offer in the long-running dispute over NHS pay.

After two weeks of frantic negotiations, ministers have offered an additional one-off lump sum for 2022/23 that rises in value up the NHS pay bands.

This is worth an extra £1,655 for staff at the bottom of band 2 (for example porters, cleaners and healthcare assistants), £2,009 for staff at the top of band 5 (nurses, midwives, physiotherapists), £2,162 at the top of band 6 (paramedics, health visitors, senior occupational therapists) and £3,789 for staff at the top of band 9.

In addition, NHS staff would get a consolidated 5% rise for 2023, with an extra boost to the lowest paid to put the minimum NHS salary at £11.45, 55p higher than the real living wage.

UNISON has paused its NHS strikes so that it can consult members on the new offer. The union’s health service executive committee of lay activists is recommending members accept the deal.

UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said: “It’s a shame it took so long to get here. Health workers had to take many days of strike action, and thousands more had to threaten to join them, to get their union into the room and proper talks underway.

“But following days of intensive talks between the government, unions and employers, there’s now an offer on the table for NHS staff.

“If accepted, the offer would boost pay significantly this year and mean a wage increase next year that’s more than the government had budgeted for.

“This is better than having to wait many more months for the NHS pay review body to make its recommendation.

“UNISON will now be putting this offer to the hundreds of thousands of health members in the union in the next few weeks, recommending acceptance.

“In the coming days, health workers will have the chance to look at the full detail of what’s on offer and decide whether that’s enough to end the dispute. While that process takes place any planned industrial action will be paused.”