NHS managers attempting to slash the national Agenda for Change (AfC) pay and conditions agreement for staff will be met with fierce local opposition, Unite, the largest union in the country, has pledged.
Unite members in the health service have voted overwhelmingly in a consultative ballot to reject any moves to introduce ‘divide-and-rule’ performance related pay and abolish the unsocial hours payments for when staff are off sick.
The union’s national health committee decided yesterday (Thursday 17 January) to launch a national ‘fight back’ campaign to protect pay, and terms and conditions.
Unite is buoyed up by the pre-Christmas announcement of the NHS Employers - the umbrella body for NHS bosses - that if unions and professional associations don’t sign up to changes to AfC, they won’t be imposed.
However, Unite is worried that ‘rogue’ employers such as the 19-trust South West Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium will push ahead with plans to cut the pay and conditions of regional health staff in a bid to soften up the NHS for privatisation.
Unite head of health Rachael Maskell said: “Our members have overwhelmingly rejected the proposed changes to Agenda for Change. We note that the NHS Employers has said that these changes won’t be imposed, if unions don’t sign up.
“However, we are worried that hardline ‘rogue’ employers will try to flex their muscles locally to attack pay and conditions. If they are successful, it will eventually lead to NHS fragmentation and the most lucrative bits being hived off to profit-hungry private companies.
“The last sorry chapter of this scenario will be the collapse of patient care across England - and the lingering death of the NHS, as we know it.
“That’s why our members will be campaigning very strongly in local areas where this frightening prospect looms.”
The south west consortium’s plans suffered a blow before Christmas with the withdrawal of the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust from the cartel.
For further information please contact Rachael Maskell on 07768 693933 and/or Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940
- Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.