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Unison accepts Agenda for Change proposals

Unison has become the latest health union to accept proposals to dilute Agenda for Change, marking a significant step towards their introduction.

Nursing Times has been told that Unison’s health executive committee met today and agreed to accept the proposals from the NHS staff Council to alter the AfC agreement for staff in England.

It follows a consultation exercise with union branches and members.

Under the proposals, the national AfC pay framework will be altered to end automatic incremental pay rises, scrap enhanced out of hours sick pay, and bring an end to band 5 nurses receiving two increment rises during their first year after qualification.

Senior staff on higher pay bands could also be removed from Agenda for Change entirely and paid an individual spot salary.

The Royal College of Nursing council decided on 23 January to accept the proposals, which were put forward by NHS Employers last year.

The government and managers are seeking changes to the national agreement in order to make major cost savings.

Only the union Unite has so far rejected them and said it will fight any attempt to reduce terms and conditions of staff. However, it has significantly fewer NHS members than either Unison or the RCN.

Before they are officially accepted, the proposals will have to be discussed and voted on by all the staff side unions at the Staff Council on 26th February.

Unions are separately fighting a so-called “pay cartel” of 16 hospital trusts in the South West, which aims to break away from AfC and make their own cuts to terms and conditions to reduce the regional pay bill by 8%.

The cartel has said it is waiting for the formal Staff Council decision on the national proposals before it decides whether to continue with its local plans.

Readers' comments (10)

  • Personally I don't think we should claim out of hours sick pay anyway.

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  • What are the numbers of members in each union that work in all the different parts of the NHS? Nurses make up a large part of the workforce, but doesn't mean that their all members of a union. There could be more Unite members in total from all the other professions other than nurses.
    Does this also mean that if you're not in a union, you have no say about AfC changes?

    I agree that people who are on sick leave, can't be working any hours including unsocial hours and weekends.
    People on permanent nights or weekends should have sick pay at the same rate as their normal shifts. Having unsocial hours uplift must have been a bonus from previous negotiations.

    A regional cartel makes it very difficult for staff to leave one employer to work for another reasonably close employer, unless you leave next to a border with another region. Would cartels breach some anti-trust law which leads to inferior conditions for employees?
    https://www.gov.uk/competition-law-unfair-pricing-agreements
    If the cartel breaks away from national agreements, would it mean everyone is on individual employment contracts, and also away from collective bargaining. Each subject to individual negotiation between employer and employee.
    How time consuming and a headache for all concerned, to negotiate and justify your own working conditions, and costly (time and expense) for the employer.

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  • 'Senior staff on higher pay bands could also be removed from Agenda for Change entirely and paid an individual spot salary.'

    KERCHINGGG!

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  • Don't forget to wipe your feet on the doormat (sorry nurses) as you stamp over them on the way out please!

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  • We need the members to vote for action!

    I remember 1988 when we went on strike as a result of local branch meetings and the regional / national officers were left trying to catch up with the action! Happy times... and yes we made a lot of progress as a result of action.

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  • I bet NHS employers couldn't believe their luck when the unions swallowed this one. Most of the NHS employers members wouldn't have been out of place running a cotton mill in the 18th century.
    Mmm..... now which lease car, the jaguar? or something more exotic perhaps!!

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  • Anonymous 11 Feb 11.41 is spot on. Why on earth don't we strike? We have been walked over for the past two years, and now this. If we don't stand up for ourselves I'm afraid we will find this is the thin end of the wedge. If you don't look after your staff how on earth do you expect them to look after your business i.e. patients? I'm not for one minute suggesting that nurses and other staff are less compassionate because of the reduction in their pay in real terms and erosion of terms and conditions, but it certainly doesn't inspire the workforce and obviously leads to demotivation. If you feel you are not valued then you start to assume that your job is not valuable. We are only human, not saints - and for heavens sake, lets hear a bit less about nursing being a "vocation". I'm certainly note here for a vocation, I'm here to do a professional job with gradually depleting resources. I can't be stretched any further!! We need to let NHS management know that we are doing our best, but our rewards need to keep pace with inflation and be a reward for a job well done. You can bet that they aren't suffering in the way that we are.

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  • What next, enforced pay cuts? will Unison back those as well? They might as well roll out the red carpet to full scale privatisation of the NHS - I've joined Unite!

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  • i always though unison would back nurses how wrong can you be
    i would to know how many nures actually backed the proposals by Unison and RCN because my voice certainly isn't there

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  • I went to a number of the consultation meetings organised by UNISON locally and I was surprised how few people bothered to attend them and how many felt the proposals didn't effect them so they were not bothered.
    There was no mood for industrial action, either for strikes or action short of strikes, except for a small number of us.
    If members don't back action against the proposals then there is no alternative but to accept it.

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