HEALTH workers are “facing unprecedented pressures just to feed their families” and deserve an “inflation busting pay rise”, a leading union has said.
Unison Cymru/Wales said that public sector staff across Wales - including many thousands working in health - are “being forced to deal with a toxic mix of a decade of cuts combined with low wages and sky high fuel and energy bills.”
Unison, which is the largest union representing health workers in Wales, has said they have heard from members who say a lack of decent pay and the rising cost of living means they are now looking for work outside of the health service.
One worker on 30 hours a week had considered going full time but extra travel and childcare costs meant even an increase in her hours still wouldn’t pay the bills.
The worker, who was not named, said: “I love my job and I would hate to have to leave my job based on costs, but unfortunately it has turned into a domino effect of other rising costs and salaries and expenses are not rising to meet this.”
Unison has set out key priorities to “ensure those providing such vital services are given the pay and conditions they deserve.”
The union officially launched its NHS Pay Right campaign with events at health boards across Wales on Friday, 1 April.
Unison is calling for an above inflation pay rise, a complete overhaul of job description reviews within the health service and for health staff to be paid for all the hours they work.
Hugh McDyer, Unison Cymru/Wales health lead, said: “We have the real living wage supplement in NHS Wales yet we are still seeing health workers struggle to make ends meet and pay the ever increasing bills.
“By standing together we can build the case to get additional hours recognised and paid, to get jobs graded properly, and ensure everyone is paid correctly for the work they do.
“Experts predict overall costs to households will go up by at least £1,200 in 2022.
“A pay rise is only a real rise if it goes up by more than living costs – a pay rise below inflation is a pay cut.
“NHS pay has lost value compared to pay rates in 2010, once you take inflation into account.”
At the end of last month, Health Minister Eluned Morgan agreed to fund and a temporary uplift for the lowest paid staff in NHS Wales to bring their pay in line with the Living Wage Foundation’s independent recommended rate of £9.90 an hour, from 1 April, to “ensure NHS Wales will continue to be a real Living Wage employer.”
“The Welsh Government will continue to work in partnership with our NHS union and employer colleagues to implement a fair and affordable pay rise for NHS staff in Wales through the independent pay review body process for 2022-23,” the Health Minister said.
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