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Trusts seek discussion on changes to out of hours pay arrangements

  • 35 Comments

Health service employers have insisted they do not want to rip up the Agenda for Change contract, but instead want to “reform and update” it.

It is only two years since a deal was agreed to make changes to the contract, including arrangements for sick pay, preceptorship payments and pay progression for senior nurses.

But since then ministers and managers have repeatedly stated a desire to water down further parts of Agenda for Change.

As part of the latest 1% pay deal with the government, unions agreed earlier this month to fresh talks on possible changes to terms and conditions in the contract.

 

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Danny Mortimer, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, noted that changes to unsocial hours payments, worth £1.8bn, “was one part of the conversation”.

“Unsocial hours are a priority area for us, but that’s not the only conversation we want to have”

Danny Mortimer

But he claimed he was not seeking a total renegotiation of the deal. “We are agreeing a timetable with unions for talks and we see a commitment on their part to have those discussions,” he said in an interview with Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal.

“We have always wanted a rounded conversation about the contract,” he said. “Unsocial hours are a priority area for us, but that’s not the only conversation we want to have.

“This is about taking a pay system that is 12-15 years old and updating it and reforming it. I don’t think that is an unreasonable conversation for us or the unions to want to have,” he added.

Mr Mortimer rejected the suggestion employers had failed to properly implement past deals, arguing it was often due to a failure to achieve agreement locally between trusts and trade unions.

On pay increments for Agenda for Change staff, one of the main targets of the government’s dispute with unions, Mr Mortimer hinted that he was confident there was room for discussion on the issue.

“The idea that we aren’t able to have a mature conversation about how increments can be changed or made part of the pay deal isn’t consistent with what’s happened over the years,” he said.

Mr Mortimer also used the interview to highlight concerns over what he called “the perception of fairness” in widening differences between doctors and the more than one million NHS staff covered by Agenda for Change.

As part of the new pay deal, it was agreed to cap the maximum amount of salary used to calculate redundancy at £80,000 with a minimum floor of £23,000 to help the lower paid.

As a result, employers can also no longer make “top-up” payments for those made redundant over the age of 50 and who choose to retire early.

However, the British Medical Association said the cap does not apply to its members, as doctors were not covered by Agenda for Change.

Mr Mortimer said: “Employers aren’t happy that doctors are in a different place in terms of cost of living and redundancy than other staff. The largest group of highest paid staff have the most generous redundancy entitlements.”

He also noted that doctors were continuing to receive pay rises and increment progression, while Agenda for Change unions had agreed to concessions.

Mr Mortimer, who recently joined NHS Employers from Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, said: “It’s about some equality of approach across the workforce.”

  • 35 Comments

Readers' comments (35)

  • How much more do they want to do to a profession that already feels demoralised and un respected?
    It's an absolute disgrace!
    I would never go back to work in the NHS, but have to say where I work mirror what the NHS do, and I am already under paid for the skills and qualifications that I have.
    Immigration is sounding more and more favourable all of the time.......
    How sad is that though.

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  • Until someone successfully sues for illness related to having to work nights then this will happen....personally since working nights some years ago I've rarely been able to get a decent nights sleep and have ended up with acid reflux and other gastro intestinal issues as have several colleagues.

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  • Take away unsocial hours payments...result..staff leaving in droves

    Then trusts having to employ agency staff..at a higher cost!!!

    Am I missing something here??

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  • I can see the disincentive in reducing unsocial hours payments, but taking a look at the bigger picture lets look at what they are about.

    When they came about, we had a 9-5 Monday to Friday society where there was half day closing on Wednesdays and Saturdays for some shops and pubs were barely open on a Sunday at all.

    Nowadays we have a virtually 24/7 society with so many media and entertainment recording facilities etc, that shiftwork is not the bar to socialising as it was.

    For the record I used to think I relied on unsocial hours payments - and nights in particular, but when I moved into a 9-5 post I didn't miss it nearly as much as I though I would. [/Devil's Advocate]

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  • Anonymous | 24-Mar-2015 10:38 am

    You raise some valid points and you're right that we now inhabit a 24/7 world unrecognisable from 20 years ago, but most peoples working day is still during daylight hours.

    Now I know virtually all staff are employed on internal rotation contracts and many don't mind working more than their fair share of weekends or nights because of these unsocial payments, but watch all of that change if/when these payments cease - it'll be pandemonium on the wards.

    Those of us who aren't time-served management sycophants or friends of friends or who have absolutely no interest at all in ascending the greasy pole then unsocial payments make up a large chunk of our wages. If the money goes then so does the incentive to put up with the ever increasing amounts of nonsense emanating from our leaders.

    Secretly, I hope this does happen as it would be the push many of us need to find a more fulfilling role elsewhere in that big, wide world.

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  • cant imagine this guy getting paid less, I guess he would agree to paying nurses less, to not pay them extra to work a bank holiday so he can put his nose deeper in the trough

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  • it is interesting how many blue uniforms appear on my ITU on a bank holiday!!!!

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  • "Those of us who aren't time-served management sycophants or friends of friends or who have absolutely no interest at all in ascending the greasy pole then unsocial payments make up a large chunk of our wages. If the money goes then so does the incentive to put up with the ever increasing amounts of nonsense emanating from our leaders."

    This made me laugh, but oh so true!

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  • Anonymous | 24-Mar-2015 4:50 am
    You say you want proper recompense for working unsocial hours. We've never had it. Unless times have changed since before I started nursing standard rate for working overtime is time and a half on a Saturday or nights and double time for Sundays and Bank holidays. Christmas is usually triple time. Ah well I retire in 6 days.

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  • Supermarket staff get paid extra for unsocial hours

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