The LAS UNISON Branch has sent the letter below today (25/05/2022) to Daniel Elkeles, London Ambulance Service Chief Executive and Damian McGuinness, Director of People & Culture.
NHS staff are facing the largest cost of living crisis for a generation and the 2022 pay settlement is already well over a month overdue. Today, UNISON has handed in a letter signed by tens of thousands of our members to heads of the organisations responsible for NHS pay, including the Secretary of State for Department of Health and Social Care. We are calling for urgent action to deliver an inflation-busting pay rise for NHS staff.
Urgency is needed. You will have been horrified that the Department of Health and Social Care had to apply an interim measure to prevent NHS pay rates falling below the legal minimum wage in April this year. The situation was entirely predictable and the failure to plan for it was negligent. Our members are stuck in working poverty while you, as the employer, were exposed to legal, reputational and employment relations risk.
You have a vital role to play as an employer and an NHS leader. First, we are calling for your support – public and private – for urgent action to deliver an immediate pay rise for NHS staff. DHSC, NHS England, NHS Employers, and the NHS PRB need to stop passing the buck.
Second, we are calling for tangible local actions to help our members face this cost-of-living crisis. While pay is a national system you have direct responsibility for a number pay issues that our members have told us are most important to them right now:
- Look at a local Recruitment & Retention premia for posts that we have market pressures and a difficulty retaining staff
- An increase in our current subsistence payments (rest breaks)
- Support a larger increase in High Cost Area Supplement so our Staff can afford to live & work in London
- Lifting our members out of in-work poverty
Our national pay claim calls for national talks on these issues, as part of a resourced retention package. But you can take action now and commit to working with UNISON locally to discuss these issues. Unlike many of the suggestions we have seen in national toolkits for how employers can support staff in working poverty, these are meaningful issues of pay and reward, where improvements to how things are applied locally could make substantial improvements to the lives of your staff. The NHS workforce is in crisis – we desperately need you to play your part to keep dedicated, hardworking but exhausted staff in the NHS. We need to make sure everyone is paid fairly for the job they do and the hours they work.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Eddie Brand, Branch Secretary LAS UNISON, Staff Side Secretary
Tim Stephens, Branch Chair LAS UNISON, Staff Side Chair