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Cath Everett

Sift Media

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

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News: NHS “pay cartel” proposes staff pay cuts and longer hours


Thousands of NHS staff in the South West of England could face the sack unless they agree to take pay cuts and work longer hours under a new money-saving scheme.

A document leaked to the Sunday Times showed that NHS managers from 19 Trusts in the region have joined forces to form what is being described as a “pay cartel” in order to counter what is expected to be an “extremely hostile” reaction to their proposals more effectively.
The aim is to force employees to take pay cuts of up to 5%; end overtime payments for working nights, weekends and bank holidays; reduce holiday entitlement by two days and make staff work for 25 minutes longer each day.
The document said: “Acting in unison…in a way which has not been undertaken previously demonstrates both the seriousness of the situation and the collective resolve to achieve long-term change”.
The move could signal the end of the national Agenda for Change contract, which resulted in most health service staff, ranging from nurses to porters, moving onto standardised pay scales. Doctors, who are on different contracts, will not be affected.
Hospital employees in Poole, Exeter, Plymouth and Truro are thought to be among 1.5 million who could be hit, however, half of whom are front line workers.
The document outlines measures to introduce a sliding pay scale, which would see staff on more than £21,000 per annum lose 5% of their salary, get lower sick payments and no unsocial hours payments. Performance-related bonuses could also be implemented as part of a so-called “sweet and sour” approach, however.
A “final option” would likewise involve terminating all contracts and re-employing staff under the new terms and conditions, although the document acknowledges that this would likely result in industrial unrest, legal challenges and damage to reputation.
Author Profile Picture
Cath Everett

Freelance journalist and former editor of HRZone

Read more from Cath Everett

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