GMB calls for a real term pay increase for healthcare workers

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The average healthcare worker has lost approximately 15% pay during the past decade, says GMB Union

GMB is calling for a real term pay increase of around 15% for health worker heroes as their pay deal looms.

NHS workers have endured a decade of real terms pay cuts during austerity, losing 15% of their wages on average. They were recently excluded from the Government’s announcements on public sector pay despite battling on the frontline against coronavirus. 

GMB was the only health union to reject the NHS pay deal in 2018, which meant the 40 per cent of NHS staff in England at the top of their pay bands saw their wages increase below projected inflation rates. 

Now, as the country relies on our frontline health workers more than ever, GMB calls on the Government to end a decade of austerity and real terms wage losses by demanding pay justice for our NHS key workers.  

Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer, said: “At a time when we are relying on our health workers more than ever, we can’t expect them to swallow another real terms pay cut. 

Our NHS and its workers were at breaking point before covid-19, with 100,000 vacancies, privatisation running down services and removing loyal NHS staff from the payroll, a culture of bullying and a looming staff mental health crisis. 

“The pandemic has exacerbated the situation. Staff put their own lives on the line, attending work to care for others, whilst being in fear for the safety of themselves and their families. They have been failed at all key points during the crisis -– particularly when it came to pay, PPE and testing.   

“Now is the time for the Government to make amends. Give the healthcare workers the respect and dignity in pay which is long overdue to really tackle the recruitment and retention crisis within the NHS. Now is the time to pay up.  

“That’s why GMB is calling for pay justice, a real terms pay increase that makes up for the approximate loss of 15%. Substantial enough to repair the decade of austerity and real terms pay cuts suffered by our key workers in the NHS and privatised companies operating within it.” 

“GMB is also calling for unsocial hours enhancements that have been taken off NHS staff  when on sick leave to be reinstated. Never again should workers lose out whilst on sick.” 


Media enquiries: GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at