The British government is facing a widespread reaction by people to a plan to increase NHS staff salaries by only 1% this year. The vast majority of people believe that this increase is very small, while Boris Johnson has defended the plan. He believes that the government is not able to pay higher salaries. But it seems the government could have solved the pay rise in other ways.
The British people are joining the healthcare community to protest the 1% rise in health insurance. People want to show solidarity with healthcare professionals.
The protest is an attempt to publicly endorse NHS staff and millions stood on their balconies, cheering them on. They believe that they should stand for a fair salary, because this plan will be the worst austerity measure for the staff.
The Reaction of Various Unions
Since the news broke, the government has faced growing anger by unions and opposition parties.
The four unions, the British Medical Association (BMA), the Royal College of Midwives, the Royal College of Nursing, and Unison and Unite, wrote a joint letter to Rishi Sonak, expressing “disappointment” and demanding a fair pay rise.
They believe that this plan is an insult instead of thanking today’s heroes in healthcare. They see the plan ultimately ending in a reduction of salaries for health workers.
The letter states that caring for the millions of patients on the waiting list, as well as caring for Covid-19 patients, is a testament to the dedication of NHS staff and should not add to their problems.
The Royal College of Nursing has threatened to strike, because they believe that if the plan is approved, it will eventually lead to a reduction in salaries.
The union’s secretary general called the plan disappointing. She believes the government has lost touch with NHS staff and the public.
Public outrage over the plan is growing, and some unions are urging people to join a soft protest against the government’s proposal to increase NHS staff salaries by 1%.
In , various unions called on people to come on their balconies to express their views on salary increases as well as show solidarity with health workers.
It should be noted that NHS staff have been through the darkest days of healthcare history during the pandemic.
They expected the salary increase to be fair and commensurate with their exceptional efforts. Nurses, midwives, porters, cleaners and other health workers are upset.
The NHS needed 100,000 qualified staff before the pandemic.
NHS representatives in the UK believe the government has already set a budget for a five-year period, reflecting a 2.1% pay rise in 2021 and 2022.
Deputies believe that a 1% increase in salaries is in fact a real reduction and is only for the assumptions made in the 2019 Budget.
In addition, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) also forecasts that inflation will be 1.5% next year.
The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has recommended a 1% increase in salaries formally allocated to an independent government agency for NHS salaries.
The commission is expected to make its recommendations in early May, when ministers make their final decision.
Losses for NHS Workers
The motivation of healthcare workers is one of the factors in the fight against Covid-19. Failure to raise their salaries may hit the fight against the virus. The government’s budget proposal can have the opposite effect. A 1% increase in salaries would mean a reduction in the real situation for doctors.
Nurses in the post-pandemic environment are likely to go on strike unless the government changes its mind.
Another consequence of government indifference is the dramatic increase in the number of nurses leaving their jobs because they feel undervalued.
At the same time, a 1% increase in salaries does not match next year’s 1.5% inflation forecast. Therefore, this plan will be a kind of salary reduction.
The Practical Solution for Budgeting
All NHS staff, and indeed social workers, who have been the heroes of the hour during the pandemic, should be appreciated in actions, not in words.
Citing government payment problems and the fact that Britain is in a very difficult situation is no justification for defending the plan.
With over 100,000 nursing shortages in the UK, retaining staff in the profession is essential.
It seems that Sonak should wait for the end of the crisis rather than turn his back on NHS heroes and empty their pockets. Although government spending has increased, NHS staff must not be out of pocket. The practical solution is for the government to tax high-paying jobs during a pandemic.
The tax system and budget allocation must always be balanced. This means that all sections of society must pay taxes in proportion to their salaries.
Therefore, the government of Boris Johnson, and his Secretary of the Treasury in particular, must act fairly. Britain needs its workers in many sectors in times of crisis and the government should pay more attention to their lives. Workers must not shoulder the task of finding a solution to this problem single-handed. More taxes can be levied on the upper deciles of society, as well as on businesses that have become very wealthy since the pandemic.