The South West “pay cartel” has lost a member after unions agreed a draft proposal on changes to terms and conditions as part of national talks.
The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals Foundation Trust has announced it will withdraw its membership from the South West Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium of 20 NHS trusts.
The decision comes after unions agreed a draft proposal from NHS Employers at a meeting of the NHS Staff Council Executive on Friday.
The agreement, which will see significant reduction in staff terms and conditions, will now go to each union’s executive committee for consultation.
Although a final deal is far from guaranteed Tony Spotswood, chief executive of The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals Foundation Trust, said his organisation would no longer take part in the group, dubbed a ‘cartel’ by unions.
He said: “The board is encouraged by the progress made in the national negotiations and wishes to see these continue as we strive for pay, terms and conditions that fully reflect the needs of the service going forward.”
The trust has said it is not expecting its £10,000 joining fee to be returned.
The decision has been welcomed by health unions who accuse the consortium of undermining the national talks.
Unison head of health Christina McAnea, and chair of the Staff Side Council said: “This is the right decision and good news for patients and staff. We hope other trusts in the South West cartel will review their involvement in the consortium.
“Unison will work with them to address the serious financial issues they are facing.”
Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “The RCN has long been arguing the pitfalls of regional pay are numerous and represent nothing more than an attack on nursing staff at a time when resources are stretched. It is promising that these arguments appear to have been listened to.
“We hope this marks the beginning of a retreat and we urge the remaining trusts involved to follow this example and realise regional pay is not the answer.”
A spokesman for the consortium said the group was “disappointed” at the decision of the Bournemouth trust.
She added: “Whilst encouraged by recent progress on aspects of Agenda for Change, members believe it is right and fair that any review aimed at producing fit for purpose pay, terms and conditions should include all staff groups, for example doctors, dentists and senior managers including chief executives.”