Hartlepool MP Mike Hill has welcomed the pay rise for NHS workers, but says more could be done for other public serctor workers
Mr Hill welcomed news that NHS staff are to get an above inflation pay rise after years of restraint and the imposition of a 1% pay cap.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced a 6.5% pay agreement for NHS workers spread over the next three years, with an immediate £2,000 rise for people on the lower end of the pay scales like porters and cleaners, amounting to on paper a 29% rise for some.
Mr Hill said: “This is a clear and significant step forward, symbolically ending the year on year pay cap imposed in the name of austerity by George Osborne and continued on by the Tories until now.
“The same pay cap continues to apply to other public sector workers, but for NHS staff this is a breakthrough.
“Obviously an immediate £2,000 rise for the lowest paid workers like porters, cleaners and caterers is welcome news, but overall an average 6.5% deal over three years is not a deal that keeps up with inflation when broken down for our hard working nurses and NHS staff.
“Add to this the proviso that automatic incremental progression will no longer be guaranteed and harsher sickness regimes imposed and you end up with a somewhat hollow gesture.
“Further to this the Secretary of State made no guarantees that the pay rises would apply to wholly owned subsidiary companies which have been allowed to be set up by local NHS Trusts to run in house maintenance and other services which largely affect the lower paid workers who should benefit from an immediate £2,000 uplift.
“Unions with the exception of the GMB have clearly struck a deal that is the best they can achieve by negotiation and to be fair I know that much of the detail still remains to be thrashed out, but although long overdue this is a below inflation pay deal over the period of the award and in no way should be seen as the hand of a benevolent Government suddenly seeing the light and reflecting public appreciation of health workers.”
The deal has been formally agreed by union leaders and ministers and will cost £4.2bn.
Staff will now be asked to vote on the deal, with rises backdated to April if they agree by the summer.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the cost of the rise would be covered by the Treasury rather than coming out of the NHS budget, adding: “The agreement reflects public appreciation for just how much they have done and continue to do.”