Pay for nurses and other staff in England will have fallen in real terms by more than 7% since 2010, even if they accept the latest offer from the government.
Figures produced by the TUC show that remuneration for nurses, community nurses, medical secretaries, speech therapists, physiotherapists, paramedics and radiographers will have dropped by between 7.3% and 7.6% in real terms in just over a decade, even after factoring in the 3% rise offered last week.
The TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, told the Observer: “It’s easy to understand the anger from NHS staff when you see what’s been done to their pay. It’s not just about the 3% – it’s the way their wages have been held back year after year. All our key workers deserve a decent standard of living for their family. But too often their hard work does not pay. And after the hardest year of their working lives, they deserve better."
Unions representing teachers also reacted with fury after it was announced that pay for most of their members would be frozen. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) last week highlighted how the decision on teachers’ pay went back on previous pledges from ministers and risked damaging recruitment into the profession.
The IFS said:
“At the last election, the Conservative party manifesto committed to increasing teacher starting salaries in England to £30,000 per year by September 2022. However, to ease pressure on school budgets and the public finances, the government has now announced a freeze on teacher pay levels in England for September 2021, and pushed back starting salaries of £30,000 to September 2023. The level of teacher pay is important. It plays a big part in determining the recruitment and retention pressures faced by schools. With the cost of employing teachers accounting for over half of school spending, what happens to salary levels also has a large bearing on the overall resource pressures faced by schools. And it is a key determinant of material living standards for over 500,000 teachers in England.”
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: “Following a year in which teachers and leaders have worked flat out on managing a battery of Covid control measures, as well as assessing students following the government’s decision to cancel public exams, the decision to implement a pay freeze is an absolute insult.”