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.