The NHS deal is not an acceptable settlement

GMB, the only union to vote against the government's NHS pay deal, pledge to continue fighting it.

Rachel Harrison
13 August 2018

Junior doctors protest contract changes in 2015.

Junior doctors protest contract changes in 2015. Image: Rohin Francis (CC BY 2.0) Since our members overwhelmingly rejected Jeremy Hunt’s dodgy three year NHS pay deal earlier this year, we have been consulting them on the next steps.

During the past few weeks, members have used the ballot process to tell reps on the ground about their huge disappointment at this pay deal and how let down they feel by it.

After nearly a decade of wage freezes and caps that have seen our dedicated NHS and ambulance workers’ pay pinched and left them thousands of pounds out of pocket, a below inflation wage increase for some of the longest-serving, most dedicated staff in the health service is not good enough. Our members deserve far more than a real terms pay cut.

We have said all along that we could not in good conscience recommend Jeremy Hunt’s offer to our members. And so we didn’t.

GMB was the only union of 14 health service representative bodies to have rejected Jeremy Hunt’s offer for what it was, and our ability to take industrial action this year alone has been limited accordingly. That, coupled with the government’s anti-trade union legislation which makes it extremely difficult to meet legal thresholds for a formal industrial action ballot, are why we are unable to trigger a formal industrial action vote over NHS pay this year.

Our members deserve far more than a real terms pay cut

The message from GMB members has been loud and clear throughout our consultation – we must continue to campaign for more funding for NHS pay. This three year deal is not an acceptable settlement for us.

A joint meeting between GMB National NHS and Ambulance Service reps and officers has overwhelmingly agreed that although we are not in a position to ballot for industrial action, GMB's campaign does not stop here. As we have promised to members, GMB will continue to push the government into increasing funding into the NHS for pay. Anyone who thinks we will lie down and simply accept this pay deal for the next three years is very wrong. It’s not good enough – and this is not the end of the matter. The strength of feeling among GMB members is very clear on that.

We’re incredibly proud of our members for taking a stand – and grateful to the support and solidarity we have received from workers across the NHS and from the public at large who support our call for properly funded fair pay for the heroes working in our health service.

Under this government our NHS is under threat. For it to survive, we need to continue to fight for it and the people who keep it going every day. And GMB will.

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Join us for a free live discussion on Thursday 22 October, 5pm UK time/12pm EDT.

Hear from:

Paolo Gerbaudo Sociologist and political theorist, director of the Centre for Digital Culture at King’s College London and author of ‘The Mask and the Flag: Populism and Global Protest’ and ‘The Digital Party: Political Organisation and Online Democracy’, and of the forthcoming ‘The Great Recoil: Politics After Populism and Pandemic’.

Chantal Mouffe Emeritus Professor of Political Theory at the University of Westminster in London. Her most recent books are ‘Agonistics. Thinking the World Politically’, ‘Podemos. In the Name of the People’ and ‘For a Left Populism’.

Spyros A. Sofos Researcher and research coordinator at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Lund University and author of ‘Nation and Identity in Contemporary Europe’, ‘Tormented by History’ and ‘Islam in Europe: Public Spaces and Civic Networks'.

Chair: Walid el Houri Researcher, journalist and filmmaker based between Berlin and Beirut. He is partnerships editor at openDemocracy and lead editor of its North Africa, West Asia project.

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