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Prentis warns Lansley over 'attack' on Agenda for Change


The government will face widespread industrial action by health workers if it launches an attack on NHS pay and the Agenda for Change agreement, the general secretary of Unison said today.

Speaking at the union’s health conference in Brighton, Dave Prentis told 800 delegates it had a £20m fighting fund to help its branches across the UK campaign against government proposals.

Mr Prentis  said the past two years of the coalition government had seen the public sector, including the NHS, come under “wave after wave of attacks” from ministers.

He claimed the health service was facing what he described as a “fundamental attack” and issued a warning to health secretary Andrew Lansley.

Mr Prentis said the union would move to industrial action if the government pushed to reduce pay or move away from Agenda for Change.

The Department of Health supports a move to more regionally set pay, with new high cost zones extending beyond London. In evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body, published earlier this month, it suggested holding down pay in some areas in order to facilitate the introduction of the new higher pay zones.

Many NHS staff are already facing a two year pay freeze and pay limited to 1% in 2013-14.

Mr Prentis said: “We will not sit back and allow Andrew Lansley to destroy our national pay agreement.

“If he tries to undermine Agenda for Change, if he tries to reduce the pay of our members who live and work in poorer communities, if the unjust and unfair pay freeze does not end – we will make our stand.

“If they come for our pay we will be ready, prepared and if we need to, we will move to industrial action to protect everything that is right then we will do it. We will do it and we will win.”

Mr Prentis also accused the Conservatives of not valuing the NHS and said private sector firms valued the “fat profits” they could make from a system “designed to save lives”.

Labour’s health spokesman Andy Burnham is due to speak at the conference later today.

Mr Prentis praised Andy Burnham’s opposition to the Health and Social Care Bill. But he added: “I also remember it was Labour who built the bridges over which the Tories walked and we will never forget that.

“If Labour is ever returned to power we expect they will, they must, repeal this pernicious act. If they don’t do it conference, we will never forget.”


Readers' comments (4)

  • Evil Lansley will not stop until he has wrecked the NHS, and got rid of so many nurses that patients will have just 1 RN per shift and a few HCA's to care for them. He needs to be sacked; in fact the whole coalition need to be sacked. They are quite happy to hand over 10 billion to the IMF to try and prop up the euro, but even more happy to wreck the NHS, and not spend the money they should on it.

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  • the quicker we go to the polls and get rid of this un-elected waste of space govt

    all they care about is the rich as that is what they have always stood for

    they have already started the privatisation of OUR nhs, they need the boot and quick

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  • lansley could not run a bath!

    why is this idiot in charge of the nations treasured asset

    he will not rest until all our hospitals are in private hands and we end up working long hours for next to no pay...oh sorry we are here already!!!

    praise to unison for standing up for health workers, where are the rcn on this..nowhere as usual

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  • Perhaps we are just misjudging the Coalition. The lower the pay, the lower the pension contribution! They probably just have our best interests at heart (NOT).

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