Unite blasts NHS Pay Review Body as “long passed its sell-by date

Joint trade unions declare that they have withdrawn from the NHSPRB process for the next round of pay negotiations for 2023/2024

12 Jan 2023| News

Unite General Secretary, Sharon Graham says the NHSPRB has degenerated into “a total farce” which isn’t “independent” of Government and can’t take decisions on pay – “so what is the point of it?”

This follows Wednesday’s joint trade union declaration of withdrawal from the NHSPRB process for the next round of pay negotiations for 2023/2024

Health unions won’t be submitting evidence to the NHS pay review body (NHSPRB) for the next wage round while the current industrial disputes remain unresolved, it has been announced today (Wednesday 11 January).

Instead, the 14 unions – representing more than one million ambulance staff, nurses, porters, healthcare assistants, physiotherapists and other NHS workers in England – have called for direct pay talks with ministers and relevant NHS Employers. However this leaves the future of the Pay Review Body unresolved beyond 2023/24.

Unite believes the Body is no longer fit for purpose and should be abolished.

Unite’s Sharon Graham said:

“The NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB) is long passed its sell-by date. It’s no longer independent of Government and it doesn’t have powers to make major decisions about pay. So what is the point of it?

The fact of the matter is the NHSPRB has presided over more than a decade of real wage cuts for almost all NHS staff. It has been a smokescreen which has allowed Government to drive the NHS to the point of collapse”.

The NHSPRB’s eight members are ministerial appointees, with the chair appointed by the prime minister and the remaining seven members appointed by the health minister. The Government also sets a strict level that the body must base its decision on before the process even starts. Unite believes that years of this system are responsible for the pay crisis engulfing the NHS and the consequent staff exodus that has followed.”

She added:

“What has happened to the NHS is a tragedy. And the NHSPRB has been a willing partner in working to the Government’s pay cuts agenda. It’s a total farce. The only way the current impasse can be resolved is for Government to enter into direct negotiations with the unions involved. That should be a precursor for the total scrapping of the NHSPRB and the formation of a new system of direct national negotiations between the Government and unions”.