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Trust holds back pay rise from lowest band staff

Southend University Hospital Foundation Trust has held back a £250 pay rise for low paid staff in a plan to save over £400,000.

While most NHS staff salaries are frozen, national negotiators had agreed that those earning less than £21,000 a year would receive a £250 pay rise.

But Southend foundation trust is not part of the national Agenda for Change agreement, so is able to negotiate staff pay locally and has opted not to pass on the pay rise for the lowest grades.

It is the only foundation trust to have so far used its right to opt out of Agenda for Change through staff ballot. Previously it has usually followed closely, or even bettered, national pay awards.

However, as part of £9.1m of “non-recurring” savings to be made this year, documents submitted by Southend to the foundation trust regulator Monitor said £412,000 would be saved from “not funding pay award”. It is thought the move will affect more than 1,600 staff including healthcare assistants.

The move appears to confirm fears previously raised by unions about the dangers of allowing trusts to break away from Agenda for Change.

Royal College of Nursing officer for Essex Mike Kavanagh said: “They are refusing to give what is a very small raise to the lowest paid staff. It is asking the lowest paid staff to subsidise the service, that’s completely wrong.”

The trust has acknowledged that its decision could impact on the recruitment and retention of staff.

Trust documents state: “Decisions [about staff pay and conditions] made locally could impact on recruitment and retention if the actions that the trust takes appear to disadvantage staff to a greater extent than national pay settlements”.

A spokeswoman for the trust said: “The year’s pay increments were fully funded and paid to staff. Following extensive consultation with staff and staffside unions the Trust did not pay the inflation increase so as to minimise the need for redundancies arising from financial pressures.  

“Under Southend’s local terms and conditions, staff receive a ‘Gainshare’ annual reward if annual performance and quality targets are met, which is not paid to very senior managers. Staff received this unique payment this year as they did in previous years. 95 per cent of staff voted to be employed under the Trust’s local terms and conditions.”

Readers' comments (17)

  • "The trust has acknowledged that its decision could impact on the recruitment and retention of staff."

    Oh well that's good of it. Here's an idea, just stop paying all of the staff at all, see how long you actually have functioning hospitals?

    Pillocks.

    It is about time the raid on ALL our pay is stopped completely and reversed, so that we all get the pay that we not only deserve, but have EARNED.

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  • totally agree with mike

    what a bunch of idiots...how about the chief exec and the band 9 and 8's taking a pay cut...no that would mean them having less fancy cars and holidays..we carnt have that can we!!!

    instead its the very lowest paid that get the good old kick in the ******yet again time and time again

    hope the ce and top managers can sleep soundly at night...oh they probably can and dont care a jot!!

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  • Disgusting!

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  • The article says:

    "It is the only foundation trust to have so far used its right to opt out of Agenda for Change through staff ballot."

    Does this mean staff were balloted and gave up their right to the payrise?

    If not, why are they not on strike?

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  • Absolutely the wrong thing to do. The lower paid are bearing the brunt of the wrongs committed by the better off.

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  • tinkerbell

    james wishart | 19-Aug-2011 12:26 pm

    Absolutely, in a nutshell. Shame on them!

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  • NOT FAIR....... Cut or stop pay rises for band 8-9 and above.......

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  • I fear it will get a whole lot worse soon ...

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  • Read the article..................95% of staff voted to be employed on the Trust's terms and conditions (rather than remain on AfC) and increments have been paid in full. After previously bettering AfC pay rises they are now trimming. How many posters complained when they were being paid more than those on AfC T&Cs? Swings and roundabouts.

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  • Anonymous | 19-Aug-2011 4:55 pm

    I have to agree with you. The staff made the choice, and now there are negative consequences. That's life.

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  • George Kuchanny

    £250 for ten low paid staff versus £2,500 for someone on a 40% tax bracket. A no brainer and moreover a glaring example of what desperately needs to be proritised.
    Just do not get me started on 80k legal services managers who outsource supply of every single bit of basic legal advice at massive cost which they should be personally providing. How many £250 rises would that be then?

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  • it is the presure that the lower bands are under." its done as you say or your gone! thats from a band five up"the is no support under band five?

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  • This is why Unions negotiate terms and conditions on behalf of their members and not the staff themselves!

    Opting out of Union negotiated AfC terms and conditions for a few bob more has come back to bite them on the **** and I have little sympathy for them.

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  • Earlier this year the local NHS Foundation Trust tried to persaude the staff to opt out of the national scheme - the unions worked magnificently and warned everyone of the dangers of this situation arising. I think they have been vindicated.

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  • no sympathy for the staff..there the ones who opted out of agenda for change

    this has come back sooner than they thought to haunt them, and it will only get worse..unlucky!!

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  • I cannot believe that they actually voted to opt out of AfC and leave themselves so open to this. It would be interesting to see what was also said or promised for that ballot.

    Talk about turkeys voting for Christmas....

    Oh, and for those who are asking how much is spent on or by senior managers that could potentially balance the saving requirement, the Freedom of Information Act allows you to ask that question directly in writing and for that question to be answered in writing within a prescribed time frame. Stop hollering on the sidelines and make the request!

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  • They probably voted to opt out of AfC because they given promises by the trust that their pay wouldn't be 'shackled' by the pay scales imposed by AfC and could be rewarded for their hard work, what probably wasn't explained was it worked the other way and any promises from AfC didn't count either.
    Basically the trust is working like a company in the private sector, when times are good then pay rises are not restricted to AfC but when times are bad then pay may be more pegged back. Foundation trusts are more autonomous when it comes to controlling their budgets, and they can opt out of AfC (with employee agreement) which is one of the reasons UNISON is against Foundation Trusts.

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