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RCN regional officer Mike Kavanagh talks to NT about the pay dispute in Southend

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A three-minute interview with Mike Kavanagh, RCN regional officer for Essex, on Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s decision to offer a 2% rise next year and set local terms and conditions.

NT: What is the situation at Southend?

MK: Southend hospital trust has used its foundation trust status to opt out of the national NHS pay structure and has the power to make pay offers of independently of the rest of the NHS.

NT: What has happened this year?

MK: The trust has offered a 2% pay rise to staff for 2008-09 although it says it will reconsider this if the government offer a higher pay rise. Although most staff are currently on more than the staged pay rise for 2007-08 this is still much less than 1%.

NT: What other terms and conditions does the trust offer?

MK: The other terms and conditions offered to staff are often much less than the equivalent in the rest of the NHS. For example staff who move to Southend from another trust do not have their previous experience recognised in terms of pay on an incremental pay scale-the trust also has its own version of the Knowledge and Skills Framework which does not automatically award incremental pay rises.

And in terms of maternity leave if staff transfer into Southend from another trust their previous NHS experience is also not recognised in terms of length and rate of maternity pay.

NT: What do the RCN want from the trust?

MK: We want to see all nursing staff at Southend moved onto national terms and conditions in line with AfC or put on better than AfC contracts. We also want the trust to come back to the table and negotiate on the 2% offer without waiting for the government’s pay decision.

Interview with Helen Mooney

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