14 December 2022

GMB withdraws from NHS pay process ‘due to lack of independence from Government’

14 December 2022

The GMB, the largest union in ambulance services, is suspending its participation in the process used by the Government to set pay in the NHS.

Thousands of its ambulance members are set to strike next week in a bitter dispute over pay.

Talks to avert the walkouts have stalled as the Government insists it is sticking to the recommendations of the independent pay review body and refuses to move on pay.

We do not believe the PRB is able to act independently

In an internal document, the GMB says the Government has “substantial power” over the pay review body as it disputes the organisation’s independence.

It says the Treasury sets the body’s annual remit, including the financial parameters within which it is expected to work; appoints and pays its members; and provides its secretariat.

The union says it has “lost faith” in the process, claiming that ministers “hide behind the pay review body as they attempt to justify a further sharp cut in the value of our members’ wages”.

“Ministers continue to insult our members’ intelligence by telling them to believe that experts have independently recommended that they endure 12 years of pay cuts,” the document says.

The union says it is pulling out of the process “until substantial reforms are made”.

This means the GMB will decline to provide evidence to the board as part of next year’s negotiations.

Rachel Harrison, GMB national secretary, said: “GMB will not engage with the PRB process for next year – we are currently in dispute following this year’s pay that was imposed on us via the PRB.

“We do not believe the PRB is able to act independently. The Government place restrictions on it in their remits.

“This is the Government’s PRB.

“GMB wants to reform the PRB so it is allowed to operate truly independently like it was intended.”

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