Radiographer strike more likely as pay award reality hits home

SoR analysis highlights how 5% award in England is increasingly being exposed as unfair

Published: 23 June 2023 Trade Union & IR

As the SoR’s pay ballot enters its final week and the BMA announce junior doctor strikes in July, the SoR is highlighting to the government the inadequacy of the 5% award in England.

This week’s interest rate increase and news that inflation remains high at 8.7% amplifies how the award is leaving the vast majority of NHS staff worse off.

Executive Director Dean Rogers explained the reality: “The inadequate and unfair nature of the pay award is hitting home now members are getting the money in this month’s pay packet.

"We’ve already warned members that non-consolidated payments would be largely swallowed up in increased tax and the award may not be as much as they anticipated. Stubborn inflation and further interest rate rises make this even worse. The interest rate rises could mean some members simply can’t meet all their bills.”

SoR pay analysis

SoR analysis of the basic award shows everyone at Band 5 and 6 will be less than £100 a month better off after deductions. Someone at the top of Band 7 has only £63.56 a month more left after the increase. A new professional’s basic net pay has gone up by less than £50.00 a month (£47.78).

The BBC’s analysis suggests someone with a £200K mortgage can expect to be paying £223 a month more as a consequence of interest rates rising by 2% over the last year. In reality many will see their mortgages rise by 4-5%.

The latest interest rate rises are also expected to hit the rented sector with the National Residential Landlords Association estimating 735,000 rental properties could be forced to sale as landlords cannot afford the mortgages. Consequent rent increases would be unaffordable, especially for new professionals who will be unlikely to have a mortgage.

NHS staff forced out

Rogers added: “The Secretary of State said 5% is 'fair and generous'. He also said inflation would fall quickly and be 3% by the end of 2023. It seems blatantly obvious he was wrong on both counts.

“A 5% rise is evidently not enough. Some NHS professionals will be forced to leave straight away, and search for better paid jobs in the private sector. Others will be forced to work even longer hours and risk burn out and patient safety.

"Potential recruits will look at the wages and expectations and pick safer more sustainable careers. Waiting lists will just get longer with fewer radiographers. The NHS has a workforce crisis and no workforce plan. The 5% award is a symptom of this not a solution and has to be overturned.

“Radiographers and doctors shouldn’t be having to threaten strike action to get the Government’s attention but unless they listen, engage and revisit their 5%, many more will likely be joining us again before the end of the year.”

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