Health workers lobby against pay cartel
- Published on Thursday, 30 August 2012 10:33
- Posted by Vicki Mitchem
UNISON members yesterday lobbied the North Devon NHS Healthcare Trust executive board meeting next week. They were questioning the Trust's involvement in the South West NHS pay cartel and asking them "how dare you?".
The lobby is part of a campaign against the Trust's decision to join the pay cartel without consulting staff. The Trust, like 19 others across the South West, has paid £10,000 to join the cartel to explore the options of introducing regional pay and taking all healthcare staff out of Agenda for Change.
Mark Harper, North Devon NHS Healthcare Trust branch chair said: "Our members are really angry. This could mean a cut in pay, annual leave, sick pay and increasing hours for all staff as part of 28 different proposals to cut staff terms and conditions.
"Like other hardworking members of the public, our members are already suffering the effects of the economic downturn. In addition, most have had to endure a pay freeze for the last few years. We need to remind the board members that this Trust is part of the NHS. How dare they even consider this? We will fight them all the way if necessary."
UNISON is providing regional and national support to the local branch to help fight the pay cartel. Yesterday and today the branch is holding information stalls and briefings in North Devon District Hospital. They are highlighting the threat that the pay cartel poses to the staff and patient services in North Devon, as well as the knock-on effects in the local economy.
While at the hospital, branch members are encouraging everyone they meet to sign a petition against the pay cartel, to implore the Trust to reconsider its position and to prioritise patient care and the hardworking healthcare staff that deliver it.
Trudie Brailey, staff side chair and UNISON member, who works for North Devon District Hospital NHS Trust said: "Staff side are very concerned at the pressure staff are already under with difficult restructuring and this move by the Trust, to join the pay cartel, has hurt staff morale enormously.
"Staff Side have repeatedly asked the Trust to withdraw from the cartel as it undermines national negotiations and will have disastrous ramifications for staff, patients and the healthcare delivered throughout North Devon. We believe North Devon Health should be joining Torbay Health in choosing to maintain nationally agreed terms and conditions so as to attract the best staff to our area."