All proposed changes to the national contract for nurse pay and conditions have been rejected by the union Unite, it announced last week.
Last November nursing union representatives agreed a set of proposals with the NHS Employers organisation, which they have been consulting on with their members. The proposals include removing one of the two pay progressions for nurses in their first year after qualifying and linking other incremental pay rises to performance.
Unite confirmed to Nursing Times that its NHS members had voted “overwhelmingly” in a consultative ballot to reject any moves to dilute the Agenda for Change agreement.
In a statement issued on Friday it particularly criticised proposals to introduce “divide-and-rule” performance related-pay and abolish unsocial hours payments for when staff are off sick.
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.”
Leaders from Unite strongly indicated the union would reject the deal back in August prior to the current draft proposals being agreed for consultation by the NHS Staff Council.
A Unite spokesman told Nursing Times the union was not releasing the figures from its consultative ballot, because it was not conducted by the Electoral Reform Society.
“The ‘overwhelming’ vote is also backed up by workplace meetings, representative meetings, regional conferences and constant monitoring of our members’ view in recent months,” he said.
Results from similar consultation exercises are expected soon from the Royal College of Nursing and Unison.