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Four in five affected by NHS pay cut are women

Written by: Emma Lunn
Three quarters (76%) of workers affected by the government’s NHS pay cut are women, according to Labour.

The figure has been revealed on International Women’s Day, after days of debate about NHS pay.

The government announced last week that NHS staff would receive just a 1% pay rise – a cut in real terms.

Prime minister Boris Johnson insisted that the government could not afford a higher salary increase. Its 1% offer, which it made to the NHS pay review body on Thursday, has prompted criticism and controversy.

RCN Council convened an emergency meeting last week where members voted unanimously for the RCN to immediately set up a £35m industrial action fund.

A strike fund is an amount of money that can be used to support workers, who are members of a trade union, to provide some compensation for loss of earnings and campaigning during industrial action.

Labour says the proposal goes against a government ‘promise’ made last year to give NHS workers a 2.1% pay rise.

With inflation set to rise to 1.7% this year, the 1% pay rise is – in real terms – a pay cut for many NHS workers, including nurses, health visitors and clinical staff.

The Labour party says women have been disproportionately impacted by Covid. They are more likely to work in low paid or shutdown sectors, more likely to have taken on additional caring responsibilities, and young women are particularly vulnerable to losing their jobs.

The opposition says the government has refused to address these facts in any of its economic responses to the pandemic.

Labour is also calling on the government to conduct an urgent Equality Impact Assessment of the recent Budget and to immediately restart gender pay gap reporting, which the government suspended a year ago.

Marsha de Cordova MP, Labour’s shadow women and equalities secretary, said: “Once again the chancellor has chosen to turn his back on women who have experienced the worst economic and social impacts of the pandemic.

“To give women on the NHS front lines a pay cut is just another example of how badly Boris Johnson’s government have consistently failed women.

“Inaction risks further entrenching inequalities long into the future and turning the clock back on progress made over the last few decades. The government must guarantee NHS workers a real pay rise, conduct an Equality Impact Assessment and immediately restart gender pay gap reporting.”

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