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Unions agree to reduce staff terms and conditions

A landmark deal to reduce the pay, terms and conditions of almost one million NHS staff has been agreed by health unions and NHS Employers.

A meeting of the NHS Staff Council, involving 15 NHS unions and employers, agreed to the reductions today, which will apply to the NHS in England.

The changes affect nurses, allied health staff, scientists and support staff.

It will see an end to automatic incremental pay rises with staff having to meet local performance requirements.

Sick pay will be paid at the basic salary level with no allowances or payments linked to working patterns such as out of hours shifts. This will not apply to staff off sick due to work-related injury or disease.

Under the deal new-starters at band 5 level will also no longer receive their second preceptorship payments.

For senior staff at the top of bands 8C, 8D and 9, pay progression will be earned annually as a bonus and could be removed if performance reduces.

Staff in band 8C and above could also be removed from Agenda for Change and offered a spot salary instead.

But employers have also committed to issuing new guidance on job re-profiling following concerns over increasing attempts to down band large numbers of staff.

The changes will come into effect on 31 March this year.

The biggest health unions the Royal College of Nursing and Unison backed the changes, although Unite opposed the plans.

Employers have argued the reductions are necessary to safeguard national pay bargaining.

Christina McAnea, head of health at Unison said: “This was a difficult decision taken in difficult times. Unison believes this is the best way of preserving national conditions which bring stability and fairness to staff and which benefit patients.

“The key now is to ensure the changes are implemented in a fair and transparent way across local hospital trusts.”

Unions have warned they will resist any attempts by individual trusts to introduce local pay.

Peter Carter, RCN chief executive and general secretary, said: “Considering the present political and economic climate, we have acted pragmatically for the benefit of NHS staff.

“This echoes what we were told by our members up and down the country; that the proposals were the best way to ensure all NHS staff receives equal and fair pay, no matter where they choose to live or work.

“However, we are clear that we expect all employers to stick to today’s agreement. The RCN will continue to strongly resist any moves to introduce changes locally,” he added.

Jon Skewes, director for policy, employment relations and communications at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “Midwives voted in overwhelming numbers in favour of this review of Agenda for Change.

“The RCM believes that this  agreement reached today will help to secure UK wide bargaining in the NHS. It will also fend off the threat of local pay and conditions.”

Dean Royles, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, which negotiated the deal on behalf of the government, said: “The negotiations have been understandably challenging, coming as they do on the back of industrial action, changes to pension schemes and a significant reorganisation of the NHS.

“This deal will increase the health service’s confidence in the usefulness of the national pay arrangements, which continue to help the NHS support and manage an effective workforce.”


The agreed changes to the Agenda for Change contract are:
Progression through all incremental pay points in all pay bands to be conditional on individuals demonstrating that they meet locally agreed performance requirements in line with a proposed new Annex addition to the handbook
For staff in bands 8C, 8D and 9, pay progression into the last two points in a band will become annually earned, and only retained where the appropriate local level of performance is reached in a given year
The removal of accelerated pay progression associated with preceptorship for staff joining pay band 5 as new entrants
The scope to put in place alternative, non Agenda for Change, pay arrangements for Band 8C and above
New guidance on the principles to be followed regarding workforce re-profiling, including the need to follow the processes set out in the NHS Job Evaluation Handbook and the application of local organisational change policies to protect staff in cases of staff redeployment into lower grade posts
Pay during sickness absence will be paid at basic salary level - not including any allowance or payments linked to working patterns or additional work commitments. This change will not apply to staff who are paid on spine points 1 - 8 of Agenda for Change, or to those whose absence is due to work-related injury or disease


Readers' comments (63)

  • Thanks RCN and Unison for voting tfor these measures- we have just opened the flood gates for them to go further with attacking our terms and conditions.
    For any that argue that this makes it fairer for the private sector the bench mark is the NHS therefore by lowering our terms and conditions it opens makes it easier for the private sector to reduce theirs even further.
    I am so disapointed this has happened, I would also like to know how the members were consulted on this decision.

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  • No surprise here then. Thanks for nothing Unison - what exactly do we pay you for? You can bet that lowly nurses will not be allowed to demonstrate that they meet locally agreed performance requirements. And when will these requirements be published? What about people who were in line to receive an increment on 01 April? Same old rubbish for nurses who will just sit back and take it.

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  • I remained confused as to why medical staff are still excluded from these negotiations. They are just another staff group in the health service and should be dealt with in the same way. It is about time they are brought into line.

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  • tinkerbell

    the hits just keep on coming. More outgoing, less incoming to pay for all the other rises going on around us, gas, electricity, fuel .......................... NMC.

    I think the general idea is they would rather we all just leave and save having to pay our any redundancy payments.

    The beatings will continue until morale improves.

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  • thanks a bunch, why not just demoralise a group of already demoralised people. thanks for nothing.

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  • Unions made a good stand on NHSpensions, good (ish deal)

    That was also called a sell out

    but dont recall that many nurses at the gates (if only)

    Dont forget Unite voted against Agenda for changes (as a sell out)

    This is a compromise yes, will it stop attacks on nurses pay no

    what will ? Industrial action

    but until nurses are willing to strike in large numbers as in Ireland or Australia

    we will have to get by until 2015 then all bets are off

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  • Anonymous | 26-Feb-2013 5:23 pm

    "I remained confused as to why medical staff are still excluded from these negotiations."

    Because the medical staff are not stupid enough to accept this and they are prepared to fight anyone who comes after their terms and conditions.

    This is the fault of every nurse who didn't bother to do anything to stop it. All those who never vote in ballots; all those who moan all day long, but never pick up the phone or send an email to their union; all those who expect someone else to come along to 'fix' everything for them. To those nurses who have done all these things, and more, your colleagues have let you down again. And there will be no change to this behaviour.

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  • I agree with all the above comments. Seriously how much longer are nurses prepared to put with this s***??? The only way to make people sit and notice is to take strike action. Yes, I did take action last action last time a strike was called, and yes, predictably there only about 6 of us out of a workforce of over 100 who bothered. If we ALL strike, then no one will be labelled troublemaker. So, we make inconvenience our patients, but I'm afraid time has come to say "so what". I am personally fed up of being inconvenienced by an uncaring union, employer and government. How much more are you prepared to take?? Do people not notice the serious dent in their pockets? And how can we be expected to care when nobody care for us?

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  • Here we go, what the heck is wrong with this country? Let them eat cake comes to mind. Make sure you know which side your on. Dont want to post this anonymously but Im sure those 'in charge' know who we are.

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  • Anonymous | 26-Feb-2013 5:55 pm
    Anonymous | 26-Feb-2013 5:46 pm
    Anonymous | 26-Feb-2013 5:23 pm

    The medics via the BMA are under currently in discussions to review their junior + consultant contracts:

    and also negotiating to capping their upper tiers in pensions contributions:

    I think the BMA is not going to take things lying down and that's a professional body and a trade union. If they can 'multi-task' then so can everyone else.

    The amendments is still a bit woolly where it says 'under local scheme'. Bands 8Cs and above are probably better off on the management pay-scales especially if they're good at negotiating their own contracts. The feeling was that most people didn't care that NQNs aren't accelerated for 2 increments during the 1st year (sounds like a lot, but isnt), but the reality is that all future nurses have their pay stunted by a year, and most people generally will not get more than one increment in any year. Having also to agree that increment are no longer automatic if staff are not up to standard.

    AfC news from NHSE with related documents on:

    It was difficult to hear colleagues who knew about these changes, as well as NMC fees and pension changes, moaning about it generally. Targeted moaning would have been better at: their appropriate union, moaning to their local MP, moaning directly to the NMC, voting and giving feedback where possible when asked by those bodies. Even if people weren't in an union, still give feedback through an open forum, or test their e-security, then people can still slip in their personal views to other unions sites.
    The NMC keeps reminding us that we have to keep ourselves updated and abreast of relevant changes and documentation, but in reality most of us don't, so its clear they've thrown the onus at us to find out about these things and its our fault if we're not aware. I think bloggers on these sites are generally more aware than the general populous who don't even vote in various general and local elections.

    However, imho I still feel that it is likely that the South-West Cartel will look to break away and implement something more stringent and to justify it on the grounds of 'patient safety', 'managing very limited resources under the current tough economic climate' and that 'enough nurses/hcas are too apathetic to challenge them'.

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  • Ah the publication of the Francis report etc and timing makes perfect sense now.
    CEOs etc and medics next? I thought not.
    Never mind I have rote learnt the 6 C's so that should merit a bonus.

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  • My god we are up the creek! My last increment is due 1/4/13!! So does that now mean I won't get it now??? Are they all stopped as of the 31/3/13, and who is going to deem if we are worthy of an incremental rise. Its a blatant licence to cut pay and be any excuse not to give us a rise.

    I emailed, went on marches, displayed posters etc all in vain it seems.

    Perhaps striking is all we have left, at least work to rule, take all proper breaks etc

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  • andy | 26-Feb-2013 7:02 pm


    No point in moaning to the NMC about pay. It is not their job. They exist only to protect the public.

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  • Yes Work to Rule nurses, not a minute more.
    Leave on time, take your unpaid breaks.

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  • The south west consortium are planning further cuts to our salary on top of what has been agreed in this article. We will get a further shafting then.

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  • Anonymous | 26-Feb-2013 7:52 pm

    andy | 26-Feb-2013 7:02 pm

    Yep, should say moan to NMC about their fees. But looking it it now, it wouldn't have made a diddly difference. They took the government's money and still raised fees.

    As said before taking proper breaks, filing incident reports for short-staffed areas and leaving on time is something we can do.

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  • bosses are now given free reign to bully. what happens if your boss decides you dont merit the pay rise. can we all then put in greivances for bullying. maybe every nurse should resign on mass, but there are the real labour of love nurses who dont need a pay packet. i wish. then they wonder why nurses are no longer survivng and are losing their love for the job. i actually told my daughter that i'd disown her if she wanted to be a nurse.

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  • That's it then, the unions have basically betrayed us. And we are paying them for the privilege. I've also told my daughter she must not think about becoming a nurse. I worked my guts out to become a nurse, I went back to work only 10 weeks post c section, whilst still breast feeding. And excuse me for being blunt here but I have gone into work when I was anaemic and feeling very tired due to heavy menstruation. And this is the thanks I get. God help us nurses if the manager doesn't like us because then we won't be getting an incremental payrise and the unions wont be able to help. How do we prove that we are worth a payrise in the first place. Every week they are changing the goalposts. As harry hill would say there is only one solution to this - FIGHT!

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  • It just proves that All the so called 'unions' can be 'bought' too!
    Great pity they 'value' the opinions of the NHS managers rather than their, greatly, underminded members.

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  • Don't let your children join the NHS; unless they become doctors, because they always have an effective union.

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