WORKFORCE: A West Midlands acute trust is to increase salaries for its lowest paid staff to ensure they earn the living wage.

The move will cost the trust £88,000 a year.

The Royal Wolverhampton Hospitals Trust made the decision last month to increase the pay of 458 staff who currently earn below the living wage.

The change follows representations to the trust by unions. The staff will receive an increase in their hourly rate from £7.72 an hour to £7.85 an hour from 1 August.

Pay

Introducing the living wage will cost the trust £88,000 a year

Board members have unanimously supported the increase.

It comes amid mounting pressure from unions for the NHS to increase wages for the lowest paid, after the Department of Health and unions agreed a deal to end a pay dispute between unions and the government earlier this year.

Under the deal a consolidated, or pensionable, 1 per cent pay rise was paid for all staff up to band 8B on the Agenda for Change pay framework. It replaced the 1 per cent non-consolidated pay rise in 2014-15, which came to an end on 31 March.

The deal, covering 1.1 million NHS staff, also includes an additional £200 consolidated payment for lower paid staff on pay points 3-8 within bands 1 and 2. The bottom pay point was scrapped and pay point 2 was increased to £15,100.

Earlier this month chancellor George Osborne angered NHS unions by announcing four more years of pay restraint in the public sector as part of the Budget.