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Nurses asked to sacrifice pay to save jobs

  • 35 Comments

Unions have accused NHS bosses of threatening to lay off tens of thousands of staff unless further pay restraint is accepted.

Just over a million employees earning up to £34,189 are being asked to give up annual increments - on top of an existing two-year pay freeze - in return for a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies.

The Observer reported that the number facing the axe if the deal was rejected had been set by NHS Employers - which represents primary care trusts and other providers - at 35,000.

Increments were previously excluded from the original public sector pay freeze, which affects all but those earning less than £21,000, and are worth up to a few thousand pounds a year.

Ending them for two years would, NHS Employers calculates, save £3.8 billion as part of the effort to secure £20 billion of efficiency savings in the health service by 2014/15.

Karen Reay, national officer for health at the Unite trade union, told the newspaper: “If you don’t accept these swingeing proposals, other people may lose their jobs. This is a blunt threat by employers and a negatively emotive way of trying to do business.

“Staff who are loyal to the NHS and aren’t paid too much to start with are now being asked to take another hit. It’s unfair. Many are angry that, after the two-year pay freeze, they are expected to lose their pay increments for two years as well.”

The deal was first proposed earlier this week, with doctors’ leaders saying it exposed government claims the NHS budget was being protected were false and expressing doubts about the offered job loss guarantee.

“This proposal makes clear that the NHS is in fact facing a real-terms cut in funding over the next two years and it appears NHS staff are expected personally to bridge the funding gap in some way,” Hamish Meldrum, chairman of British Medical Association Council said in a letter to members.

“[The guarantees] appear to be very limited and will be left to local agreement,” he noted.

A Department of Health spokesman was not immediately able to confirm the 35,000 figure.

“We welcome discussions between NHS Employers and staff on issues concerning pay progression and jobs during the spending review period,” he said.

“The discussions are being properly considered by NHS Employers in partnership with the NHS trade unions through the national NHS staff council. We will consider very carefully any formal proposals when they are made.”

  • 35 Comments

Readers' comments (35)

  • Pay increments are there to reward us for keeping our clinical practice updated. To do this we have to fit in training and courses, (that often we have to pay for ourselves). Working full time this is not an easy thing to do. Now they are talking about taking the increments away?? Do they still expect us to put so much time and energy into keeping up to date with our practice with no financial reward? First they freeze our pay, then they cut available training, now increments! When will it end?! They really make you feel valued as a nurse, don't they!

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  • Has anyone stopped and thought, our increments come in our terms and conditions, to stop the increments means our terms and conditions have to change. What is so frustrating is that as nurses we all work above and beyond our role. Many are working a band higher than what they are supposed to just so that they can keep their jobs.

    I have just learnt that my job will no longer exist as of next year. Our organisation has put 97 jobs at risk of which they are looking to lose 60. It appears freezing our increments would have made no difference.

    Dont be fooled by promises. Our current government have not kept their promises, a government that we did not vote in.

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  • I’d love to say that this comes as a surprise, but it really doesn’t. The two year pay freeze I could understand, but this is a betrayal. Make no mistake, this is the beginning of the end of national pay rates and conditions of work in the NHS.

    These proposals are a win-win for the government and our employers: if our pathetic unions concede to these demands then the government save £bn’s. Don’t be fooled once the two years are up, the government will have devolved responsibility for reintroducing increments to our employers who will no doubt say that they can’t afford it. These proposals won’t save a single job.

    If our pathetic unions actually stand up to the government for once and say “No” to their proposals to freeze our increments then there will be a huge jobs cull. I think this cull will come regardless.

    The only reason that the government feels it can propose pay cuts like this is because of out toothless unions. To strike is the ultimate way to display dissatisfaction, but our leading union has removed this action from us. What’s the point of having a watch dog without teeth? A union who’s members won’t strike: the government must be crapping themselves.

    What Lansley and Co don’t realise is that the NHS runs on goodwill. How many times each week do you stay after your shift ends? I bet its almost a daily occurrence, well not anymore for me. If increments are frozen then I’ll treat my job as just a job. The days of me driving for two hours to make a journey that usually takes 20 minutes to get into work in winter weather won’t be happening. I’ll do what the admin staff do and ‘phone in and just make the time back. I’ll work to rule and I urge each of you to do it too.

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  • Can someone clarify the legality for me; as someone who is Paid at the lowest increment will be losing out; because I am sure the busy ward I work on will not wait 2 years to train these people in managing the ward. Doesn't this echo an unequal pay discrepancy alot like the men versus women pay argument.

    Is this legal as you will have 2 nurses with the same responsibilities on different incremental banding!!!!

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  • so 'protection' for each job would cost NHS staff about 109,000 pounds over 2 years.

    Perhaps we could get a better deal from the Mafia?

    We do need to remind our unions that they are supposed to be independent of the employers and government - we need to radicalise them and get them campaigning.

    True there should be no compulsory redundancies but Mr Prentis (UNISON) and Dr Carter (RCN) how about balloting members for industrial action if there is a single compulsory redundancy in the NHS?

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  • AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!

    i am a nurse...i need SOME good news from management/Govt...anything!...PLEASE!... make it up if you have to, just stop making it worse!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • To anonymous at 1.24pm of course this is legal: the government and our employers can do what they like, that was the whole point of all these foundation trusts and Agenda for Change. What it will mean for you is that you’ll stay on bottom band 5 for three years in total without any annual pay increase either. Then at the end of the two year period, the government will undoubtedly say that it is up to individual trusts to decide local pay settlements. If you live in an area where there are more nurses than jobs then your employer will more than likely say that you can keep your job, but you’ll be staying on your current salary and if you don’t like it you know where ASDA is. Too far fetched I hear you cry, well that’s what is planned and remember the initial pay increases we received for AFC was to compensate us for the loss of enhanced payments for lates, nights and weekends, so they’ll be going soon too. We’ve been shafted and the government is using this financial crisis as an excuse to pursue their aim of an NHS where local trusts decide pay and working conditions.

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  • >Pay increments are there to reward us for keeping our clinical practice updated. To do this we have to fit in training and courses, (that often we have to pay for ourselves). Working full time this is not an easy thing to do. Now they are talking about taking the increments away?? Do they still expect us to put so much time and energy into keeping up to date with our practice with no financial reward? First they freeze our pay, then they cut available training, now increments! When will it end?! They really make you feel valued as a nurse, don't they!

    Most get an increment for doing nothing except remaining in the post - if proper appraisal processes ever happened then about 10% of nurses would get a pay rise every year.

    How many deserve a pay rise for putting and shutting up year on year?

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  • This is an absolute piss take!

    WE ARE ALREADY WOEFULLY UNDERPAID!!!!!!!!

    To cut pay any more is not only insulting, it is down right inflamatory!

    We NEED to strike now!

    There has been rumblings of strike action for a long time, many of us are ready for it, far too many more are too damn apathetic! That needs to stop and something needs to be done!

    Our MPs are no help, and our unions are useless. We need to start lobbying to get Carter the sack and get someone in with a bit of damn backbone, it is us who are paying the fees after all, we should have the ultimate say! C'mon NT, make this one of your campaigns, help to get those of us who are ready for strike action organised!

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  • Next thing they will be asking us to work an extra day per week for no pay!!

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