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NHS staff protest over pay threat


NHS staff opposed to the introduction of regional pay and conditions have taken their campaign to the streets to garner further public support.

More than 20,000 people have signed a national petition against the plans which campaigners in the South West say will cut staff pay.

Union representatives say morale is plunging as a result of the so-called pay cartel: a group of trusts in the South West which have formed a consortium to fix terms and conditions of the region’s health workers.

The consortium has proposed cutting sick pay, reducing the working week and cutting unsocial hours pay by 10%, said Unison.

Dozens of NHS workers protested outside North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple to raise awareness of their fight against the “postcode pay deal”.

Sarah Woodward, Unison area organiser, said: “There is a lot of support from members of the public for our cause which we will fight all the way. The pay cartel is bad news for low-paid areas like the South West and staff are understandably worried. There is no way we want a postcode pay deal.

“What today’s protest has shown us is that the public, as well as MPs, are behind us. We now need the powers-that-be to hear us.”

Jim Clawson, chairman of Devon Health Forum, said the discussions about NHS staff conditions are seriously damaging morale within the health service.

“We are talking about pay and conditions: things that really matter to workers across the country. People can sympathise with that which is why we had a lot of support from motorists tooting their horns today,” he pointed out.

“I would say there is pretty much universal backing for what we’re fighting for.”

The workers are expected to stage another protest in Exeter on Tuesday.

According to Northern Devon Healthcare Trust, the cartel was established “in response to the serious financial and clinical service challenges facing the NHS, both now and in the future”.


Readers' comments (60)

  • Regional pay will be a dsaster. I agree there is not enough money to go round but we should be looking at tightening up the absence policy as when speaking to colleagues elsewher it would seem this is serially abused. Paying staff enhancements and then paying bank staff to cover is costing the NHS millions and the serial sickies are dragging the rest of us down with their manipulation of the system. GET THEM SORTED and save the money from that.

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  • Good point Peedoffnurse, but let's sort out the pay threat under discussion first...

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  • John Howes

    For those of us young enough to remember, in 1974, although not due to regional pay at the time. A situation arose when there was a dearth of nurses, in East Anglia and the South West.

    Money was available, but nurses would not work in those regions. Consequently this failure to recruit had a knock on effect of failure to retain. To depress salaries deliberately can have only one effect, those that can travel, will do so. The remainder will see Agencies being brought in, those of us who have benefited from the largesse of agency employment know that the cost to employers is considerably more than employing your own staff. Result, employ less! NHSP was supposed to be an antidote to high charging agencies, now NHSP has to get profitable! you can't get blood out of a stone.

    So what next? bin NHSP, they have already cut their rates in Plymouth to become more competitive. Wealthy Trusts will absorb the cost, what of the Trusts already in financial difficulties?

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  • cut the inflated pay of all the chief execs in these trusts by at least 20% for a start

    mind you they wont be able to afford thier yachts then though!!!

    we can bail out the banks (who got us into this mess) and who have got richer and richer in this recession, but we carnt help the nhs

    welcome to the great tory nhs, lets take even more money from the workers...if they dont like it..leave..we will replace you and your hospital with private companies like circle

    roll on the general election...lets get this shower out, at least under labour the nhs was protected and given the funding it needed

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  • tinkerbell

    Bet the protest won't get any media coverage though, cos these tory spivs won't want the public to know what's gong on as they want to keep it all behind closed doors like the risk register.

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  • michael stone

    If a petition turns up where I live - in the midlands, so perhaps is won't - I'll sign it.

    I just don't like regional pay, for less well-paid staff (I don't mean regionally - I mean for people who are not being paid well in absolute terms): I can follow the logic in economic terms, and I want a value-for-money NHS, but I dislike the huge pay differentials between low-paid workers and really well-paid managers, and introducing regional pay will only make this worse in my opinion.

    I also agree with John Howes;

    'To depress salaries deliberately can have only one effect, those that can travel, will do so.'

    Of course, the better-paid people are, the easier it is for them to re-locate when pushed - I just do not like this regional pay for lower-paid NHS staff move !

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  • tinkerbell

    DH Agent - as if ! | 30-Aug-2012 3:25 pm

    unfortunately the way things are going the only value for money that anyone will get will be a 2 tier health service. With 49% privatised the queues for treatment will get longer for those who can't afford to pay or afford private health cover.

    Recruitment for staff will be stifled, as people decide that a nursing career is not worth the struggle or upheaval and earning less for working longer is not something to be sort after. The were very few perks working as an NHS nurse and now they are being removed only the most dedicated will want to enter the profession if one remains.

    Although everyone would want an improved moe efficient health service as someone else said 'you would have to be incredibly rich or incredibly stupid' to think anyone is going to benefit from these reforms. The heart is being ripped out of what was the NHS.

    I give it another 2 possibly 5 years max for the reality to start dawning on everyone as to what this lot have done to OUR NHS.

    For me personally it shouldn't really matter. I have had a career out of the NHS and if push comes to shove could probably afford private treatment, but that's not the point. It does MATTER and should MATTER TO US ALL.

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  • Mike Stone
    There is no logic in economic terms, this will cost more in the long-run as a 'brain-drain' from areas of low pay to the high will need areas seriously underfunded in terms of personnel, and as John Howes states above, this vacuum will be filled by agency nurses that cost a great deal more an hour, three or four times as much as an employed member of staff. I can see us going down the route used by the building sector where we have workers totally sub-contracted out to save costs, or, put another way, increase profits.
    As for affording private treatment, Tinkerbell, you only have to look at our cousins across the pond who are forced to illegally smuggle the drugs they need to live from Canada and Mexico because their Insurers will not pay for their full treatment ($500 a month for the gold standard ACS treatment of aspirin, clopidogrel, Beta blockers and ACE-I. Used to be food or heat for our pensioners, you can add medicine to that in a few short years)

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  • tinkerbell

    redpaddys12 | 30-Aug-2012 11:06 pm


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  • Anon 30 Aug 12.53

    "cut the inflated pay of all the chief execs in these trusts by at least 20% for a start"

    our chief exec earns cosiderably less than she would in the private sector, and she's managed to make all the required cost savings without making anyone redundant.

    Not all managers are useless and uncaring

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