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Nurses set to hold rally against threat to unsocial hours pay

  • 22 Comments

Nurses are set to demonstrate outside a major London hospital this evening in protest against the perceived threat of cuts to unsocial hours pay.

The protest has been called in response to proposals from the Department of Health to introduce “affordable out of hours working arrangements”, in order to make the NHS a truly “seven-day service”.

The proposals were made earlier this year by the DH in a submission to the independent NHS Pay Review Body, as part of wider plans to reform Agenda for Change.

“As nurses and health workers, we intend to protest these damaging proposals”

Rally organisers

Improving both access to NHS services and treatment outcomes in the evenings and at weekends was stated by NHS England as one of its aims last autumn.

Making the NHS a seven-day service has also subsequently become an election issue, with the three main parties having all said they support the idea. Labour is the only one so far to promise to “protect unsocial hours payments” on the way to achieving it.

The organisers of the Hands Off Our Pay protest have called on nurses to rally outside St Thomas’ Hospital at 5.30pm today to demonstrate their opposition to the proposed changes to unsocial hours remuneration.

They argue that the enhanced payments for working nights, weekends and bank holidays make the difference between living and surviving for many health workers.

Cutting them would “precipitate a collapse in morale” and an “exodus of nurses” from the NHS, at a time when it is already short of nursing staff, said the protest’s organisers, who have urged staff taking part to wear their uniforms.

“As nurses and health workers, we intend to protest these damaging proposals. This is the final straw and an insult to health workers across the NHS who daily struggle to care for the nation’s sick against a mounting tide of cutbacks and privatisations,” they said in a statement.

“The trust security team will ensure the main entrance is kept clear”

Ann Macintyre

The demonstration is being supported by the trust’s branch of Unite and also the union’s regional branch for London.

In a letter sent to staff ahead of the protest the trust’s workforce director Ann Macintyre noted that the rally was not an official strike and, therefore, nurses had no legal protection to leave work to do take part and must request leave from their manager.

The strongly-worded letter – seen by Nursing Times – also reminded nurses that the wearing of uniforms in public places outside of the trust was “not acceptable” and may lead to disciplinary action.

It also warned that anyone gathering outside the hospital’s main entrance to take part in the rally would be asked by security staff to move away from trust premises.

“Access to the hospital must be maintained at all times and the organisers of the rally have called for people to assemble outside St Thomas’ main entrance. This is not permitted,” stated the letter.

However, Ms Macintyre said the trust recognised it was a “difficult time for staff in the context of the financial challenges the NHS faces and when not all staff have received a pay award this year”. 

Meanwhile, a petition started by a nurse on the issue of unsocial hours pay has gathered over 137,000 signatures.

 

Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust

A copy of the flyer that was distributed about the rally

  • 22 Comments

Readers' comments (22)

  • There is a time to laugh
    There is a time to cry
    There is a time to work
    There is a time to play
    There is a time to sleep
    There is a time to be awake

    There is a time to be paid more than flat rate
    There is a time to be paid flat rate

    All workers working any unsocial hours when they should be sleeping, playing or attending to their own spiritual needs MUST be paid more than flat rate.
    Workers should be compensated for giving up the more important part of their lives.

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  • Nurses have always provided 24 hour seven day a week care. When Mr Cameron talks about making the NHS a seven day a week service surely he is talking about our healthcare colleagues, such as GPs and therapists. Let's see if they will be prepared to work unsocial hours without some financial incentive!!

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  • £14.41 for a top band 5 is derisory at the best of times.If anyone thinks I'm slogging my guts out during unsocial hours for that they have another think coming.

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  • The Tories still have Regional Pay on the agenda, it's also an ongoing tnreat for the future. Beware everyone who works outside London or the south-east

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  • actually, GP services are open at the weekend, often, there is no additional pay for weekends anonymous , I think Cameron doesn't have a clue , and you are right, no extra money for unsocial pay, not working end of

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  • Check out the recent Daily Mail headline- Nursing chiefs on £400k while nurses endure pay freeze. This is why the NHS is in dire straits. They are paying these huge amounts to the wrong people. It shows pictures of these people celebrating their windfalls with champagne. What are they doing to earn this sort of money? Even the Prime Minister dosen't earn this amount! It is absolutely ridiculous. The paper says Jeremy Hunt is investigating these huge bonuses and wages. How is it been allowed to happen in the first place?

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  • Nurses have worked 7 days per week, 24 hours!!!
    Anonymous 10:42pm, I couldn't agree more. The amount of 'nurse managers' in our trust is quite frankly disgusting and there are also admin staff being paid bands 6 and 7 to do workforce planning for Doctors amongst tedious other paperwork that certainly doesn't justify what they're paid! Makes my blood boil!!!!!
    I for one won't be voting at all in this election in Scotland as neither parties know their ar$e from their elbow!!!

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  • Unsocial hours are a hangover from the last century. We now live in a 24hr society and our work is of equal value at all times of the day, so the solution should be a good standard of "basic" pay and an increased sense of professional maturity.

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  • Labour are the only party to say they will protect this payment

    you know what to do then on May 7th??

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  • Anonymous | 30-Apr-2015 10:42 pm

    "Check out the recent Daily Mail headline- Nursing chiefs on £400k while nurses endure pay freeze."

    How recent was that? Most of us have had an increase recently albeit 1%.

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