Cross-party members of the House of Lords have called on Theresa May to end the pay cap on nurses’ wages.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, the peers put their support behind an end to the seven-year policy which has restricted annual pay rises to 1% for public sector workers. MPs from Labour and other opposition parties have already called on the Conservatives to scrap the cap in an amendment to the Queen’s speech which was voted down.
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The Lords’ letter said: ‘Even though health care professionals deliver care to the best of their ability, patient care and safety is inevitably compromised when hospitals and other care settings are short of staff.’
Gaps are being created in the workforce when the government needs to bolster the NHS so it can care for an ageing population, according to the letter. A debate on the pay cap will take place on 13 July in the House of Lords.
Royal College of Nursing (RCN) chief executive Janet Davies said: ‘It’s clear that the pay cap is unsustainable and the cross-party peers join a growing number on the government’s own benches who agree the cap should be scrapped.’
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While the RCN continues its ‘summer of protest’ and continues to threaten a balloting for strike action in protest to the cap, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) launched its ‘Fair Pay Overdue’ campaign on 13 July.
The RCM is calling for an end to pay restraint in the NHS and a commitment to fully fund a pay rise for midwives, maternity support workers and other NHS staff. The campaign was announced at their annual activists’ conference in Bristol.
A fully-funded pay award from the government to reflect the rise of the cost of living has also been demanded by the RCM.
RCM director for policy Jon Skewes said: ‘This is not a request for buckets of money; it is a request for fair pay that makes up for years of what are effectively pay cuts.
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‘Midwives and maternity support workers work incredibly hard under increasingly challenging circumstances and they are working harder every day while seeing their pay drop.
‘All we are asking for is for midwives, maternity support workers and the whole of the NHS team to be treated fairly for the tremendous job they do every day.’