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Nurses to be asked for views on altering Agenda for Change


Unions are to launch a nationwide survey of nurses next month on potential changes to national terms and conditions, Nursing Times has been told.

All major health unions are to urge their members to take part in the joint online survey, which will help shape negotiations over proposals to amend Agenda for Change. It will be open for nurses to give their views throughout July.

The government and managers are seeking changes to the national agreement in order to make major cost savings. Details of their proposals have not formally been made public.

However, as revealed last month by Nursing Times, unions say they include an end to incremental pay rises for band 5 staff in their first two years after qualification.

All other bands would have a ceiling imposed on their pay with incremental rises made discretionary and based on performance. Staff who work out of hours and are off-sick would also have their pay cut to the basic rate.

Sara Gorton, deputy head of health at Unison, said: “We will be working together with the other health unions and branches across the country, and will be asking members to feed into the online joint staff side survey. It will be available online from the start of July until the end of the month.

“We will analyse the outcome of the survey and feed that back to employers,” she told Nursing Times.

Dean Royles, director of NHS Employers, which represents NHS trusts and is negotiating on behalf of the government, said: “Terms and conditions do need to adapt, otherwise they become not fit for purpose.

“If the unions want to protect national pay bargaining then the best way to preserve that is to bargain.”

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

The government has also made separate calls for more regionally aligned public sector pay. In April it submitted evidence to the NHS pay review body in favour of creating new higher regional pay zones – similar to those in place for London – to be grafted onto the AfC framework.

The review body is due to report on its review next month. Unions have rejected the idea.


Readers' comments (12)

  • Wasnt AfC recently implemented? seems like give it a few years and there'll be more changes.
    Feels like these changes are only going to be negative ones and another attack on staff pay. Incremental rises should not be seen as pay rises, it is there partly to keep up with cost of living and recognition of our skills, experience and commitment to our job.

    Ceilings, discretionary and performance related rises, will be you work harder and we'll see if you deserve your pay.

    What next? 2 increments per band, say 2.5K apart, a junior and senior grade each band (minimum of 12-24 months btn these 2 sub-bands). Wipe out excess band 7s and reduce 8a,b,c to just band 8.
    People will also need higher academic qualifications and further practical + clinical competencies to receive their correct increment. At band 5, you'll soon be needing a BSc minimum, then progressively higher qualifications at higher bands (band 6 = Post-Grad Cert+Diploma, band 7 = Masters and band 8 = Doctorate).
    Do you care? well that's another requirement for the job.

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  • Well, I was against Agenda for change when it was brought out as it limited our chances of increments as it was. Here we are with a draconian government who just want to save money and erode the NHS and cut any fair pay and conditions for those most vulnerable. We are just getting a handle on nurse recruitment and this will erode that too. Who will work in the public sector if all this is going on? I have never been militant and always worked above and beyond my contracted hours to try to do the best for patients and carers and this is our reward for the future of nursing. I know that I am lucky with my pension as I am approaching pensionable age and other nurses face real hardship in the future but this is just the beginning of less and less money and poor conditions. Am I cynical? Yes, you bet I am.

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  • I think we should give up sick pay for the first 3 days off and use that as a bargaining tool for a decent pay rise. The result would be a lot less short term sickness and the benefit would be better staffing levels on the ward and higher morale and more importantly better care for our patients. We are all sick of these staff who take a few days/weeks off here and there and dont give a jot about their colleagues or the patients. The up side is that anyone who is really ill will still get paid long term. The NHS is a joke as far as sickness is concerned, in any other industry these malingerers would be sacked.

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  • The vast majority of nurses will not bother to complete the survey, the government will do what they like and nurses will moan about it. Same thing, time after time.

    Peedoffnurse | 19-Jun-2012 4:19 pm

    Might be an idea to investigate just why there are such high levels of sickness. Not all who have periods of illness are 'malingerers', although there are always a few.

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  • I find it rather insulting that because I might only require a day or two off sick and that I return to work, that I am presumed to be a malinger... oh and in case it matters I have degree, post graduate cert and several other post basic qualifications.

    If nurses lose their conditions and money is not appropriate, they will vote with their feet and leave.

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  • Where is the incentive to work, who on Earth would want to work nights and weekends and public holidays if you get paid the same flat rate as for days?
    The bell is tolling loud and clear for every public sector worker in this country, but taking away enhanced pay for out of hours work takes the biscuit. All you Quislings who didn't vote for strike action SEE WHAT YOU HAVE DONE! You have sold us all down the river whilst bleating on about the protectiong the public. All you have done is a big pile of number 5 over each other AND ME!
    What next, expect you to come in and work one day a week for free ( above and beyond what you already work for free)? There still will be some of you gombeens saying ' we can't let the public down, they depend on us' until you work for nothing! I never thought I would even contemplate this but roll on privatisation I say, no private company is getting free work from me, and leave the public to stop crying their crocodile tears and start with the real kind. Look after your own parents and grandparents, generation X, and I hope you choke on their piss-soaked yellow pads.

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  • Peedoffnurse | 19-Jun-2012 4:19 pm

    I know some ppl may be 'malingerers', and take days off. I myself suffer from migrains, there better controlled now but sometimes so bad i can not even move and have to take the day off.... the after effct can last serveral days but i go to work then.

    and i would complete the servey if i can get the details,

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  • NO to a reduction in terms and conditions and pay this is disgusting. This will hit morale hard; I will leave nursing if this happens; I insist on being paid for the responsibility I take. ITS TIME NURSES STUCK TOGETHER, INCLUDING THE UNIONS, AND FOUGHT THESE PLANS.


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  • tinkerbell

    here, here.

    Time for some ACTION maybe?

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  • Divide and rule from a bunch of tyrants. Matthew Wright on the Wright stuff this morning made a very interesting point about how the Gov. and the right wing press have beeen hanging the 'greedy' nurses and doctors for months, and he wondered if this was a cynical ploy by the ConDems to turn the tide of public opinion against us so that in 12 months when they want to get rid of the NHS they have got a clearer run in, realpolitik in action!

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