UNISON Northern Ireland

Moving Forward on NHS Pay Campaign

NHS pay campaign update: August 2020 

UNISON is campaigning along with 14 other health unions for an early and substantial pay rise for NHS staff across the UK. 

When the UK Chancellor announced the long-delayed 2020 Pay Review Body awards for workers in other sectors, he failed to take the opportunity to respond to our call to move NHS pay forward by committing to give health staff a pay rise before the end of the current Agenda for Change deals in March 2021. 

To make matters worse, when announcing the Comprehensive Spending Review, he talked about the need for future public sector pay restraint. 

UNISON responded robustly in the press and media – repeating our call for the government to turn warm words and applause into the meaningful pay rise the NHS needs as it prepares for an incredibly challenging winter. 

We have made it very clear that any attempt to impose further pay restraint will be strongly resisted. In our recent UK-wide survey of NHS members 89% said they would publicly support a campaign against a pay freeze and 81% said they would consider taking other forms of action to protest against it. 

Next steps in the NHS pay campaign 

As a follow-up UNISON Northern Ireland has written to 18 Northern Ireland MPs asking them to support a call to bring forward a pay uplift for NHS workers here.  

A UNISON commissioned opinion poll, published on Wednesday 29th July, which shows that over two-thirds of the UK public back an early pay rise for NHS staff to be paid by the end of this year. And there is strong support for that rise to be substantial. 

UNISON is in ongoing discussions with the other health unions about a joint pay claim. We hope these will conclude shortly with launch of the claim by early September. 

Working with other campaigners 

A wide range of campaign groups want to show their support for healthcare staff by campaigning for an NHS pay rise. Many have set up petitions or encouraged the public to put up notices in their windows.  

UNISON Northern Ireland Health Committee will make plans over the coming weeks to advance our Pay Forward Campaign. 

This will include the following activities.  

  1. Asking members to speak to their local MPs – (this could be virtually): 

  2. Tell us what work has been like for them – as a result of pressure on the service generally and the impact of COVID 

  3. Discuss why the UK government should agree an early pay rise before the end of the year to give the service a boost going into an extra-challenging winter period 

  4. Demand full funding be guaranteed to meet a pay rise for Health Workers in Northern Ireland. 


We Invite you to send you messages in your own words in support of the Moving Forward Campaign: