Public sector workers are getting a ‘Coronavirus’ reward.
I didn’t clap every week for the NHS Carers Essential workers, because frankly I thought it rather naff and not a very British way of behaving. I was, and am however, immensely grateful for the existence of institutions and people committed to the wellbeing of our society rather than a profit margin for shareholders. And I’ll show it in practical terms by lobbying and by voting for any party that will maintain that principle of public service over profit, and which will reward those involved in providing it. I am not against profit, it has its place, but that method of organising resources has its own reward and value system.
So I was ecstatic to hear that after years of austerity aimed at those not responsible for the economic meltdown of 2009 the Government was going to reward those who responded to the emergency.
Except it didn’t.
And presumably won’t.
It has rewarded those it needs to enforce order; the police and armed services.
It has rewarded teachers.
It has rewarded those at the top of the financial tree in the NHS; doctors and dentists.
The people NOT included are all the other NHS staff; nurses, midwives, porters, managers and admin staff etc.
The argument apparently is they are coming to the end of a three year pay settlement which brought them out of austerity earlier. 6.5% pay increase! Yay!
But that was in recognition of their low pay status, the damage done to morale and recruitment through effective pay cuts, an incentive to replace dwindling numbers because of removal of bursaries for nursing training, overwork, poor shift patterns and general bad treatment in a service starved of funding.
And that 6.5% was spread over three years, so an annual rise below rpi inflation. And an annual increase of 2% is a lot smaller sum calculated on a nurse’s pay than on a doctor’s pay,
And of course it won’t affect all those care home workers who are local authority staff, or more likely minimum wage private sector workers already overworked, underpaid and as we found out often underprotected.
So maybe not three cheers this time Rishi.
Get back to me at the end of the nurse’s pay round and we’ll see what we can do about the other two.