09/08/2014 - ConDems to play "political football" with NHS

nhs1The ConDem government has deided to ignore the independent Pay Review Body over NHS pay in a move condemned by Unions.

Treasury chief secretary Danny Alexander yesterday said he would next year not ask the PRB for recommendations.

Unite national officer for health Barrie Brown said: “It is highly ironic that a senior Liberal Democrat has sounded the death knell for the PRB set up by Margaret Thatcher with the express intention to take NHS pay out of politics.

“Multi-millionaire health secretary Jeremy Hunt rode roughshod over the PRB’s recommendation this year – something that Thatcher never did – and this political interference seems set to continue, if the Tories and their Liberal Democrat poodles remain in power.

“It is clear from Danny Alexander’s statement that NHS staff pay is set to become a political football, where dedicated health professionals are seeing their incomes supressed, while the rich and powerful prosper under the coalition’s polices.”

UNISON head of health Christina McAnea said: “Staff are the NHS’ most valuable asset. And despite this, the government is going ahead and denying the vast majority a pay rise – not just for this year, but for next year too.”
“The Pay Review Body has kept the industrial peace for many years and by ignoring it this year and casting it aside for next, the government is being deliberately provocative. This letter will only add to our members’ determination to vote ‘yes’ for industrial action.

“The government still has time to head off this action with a fair pay deal. We are willing to sit down and settle the dispute but there cannot be any pre-conditions for talks.”

Both unions will later this month be balloting their members for industrial action over pay.