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Pay increment freeze proposed


NHS Employers – the body that represents the Department of Health in pay negotiations with NHS staff – has proposed to freeze Agenda for Change pay increments for two years in exchange for a “no compulsory redundancy” agreement.

The proposal follows lobbying and appeals from senior NHS managers who claim the annual increments – which are worth an average 2.5 per cent a year – are unaffordable.

The government has already announced that from April, NHS staff along with other public sector workers will have no cost of living increase applied to their salaries for two years. But until now, annual increments – which see the majority of staff rise up regimented steps in their pay bands each year – have not been affected.

The proposal was put to staff representatives at the NHS Staff Council on Friday afternoon. It would apply to staff on Agenda for Change pay bands 1 to 6, including those at the top of their pay scale who in theory have no automatic entitlement to an increment.

However, the complexities of implementing a “no compulsory redundancy” agreement mean the deal may not be available in all areas. Instead, the proposal is for a national framework or set of principles which would be used to guide local case-by-case negotiations.

Unison Senior national officer Mike Jackson said: “The NHS is going through a hard time with trusts being told to make £20bn in efficiency savings. The offer of a no compulsory redundancy agreement has the potential to offer job security but our members are still being asked to make a very tough choice.

 “In return for the agreement, staff terms and conditions under Agenda for Change would also be protected. A number of trusts have recently imposed changes on the workforce and these should be reversed.”

He added health unions would now consult with each other and their members – a process he said could take until February.

 A spokesman for NHS Employers said: “Employers face difficult decisions to deliver the required efficiencies from 2011. NHS Employers has made a proposal for the English NHS to the trade unions on the NHS Staff Council which we believe will give greater security of employment for staff. We hope that unions will consider our proposals and discuss the scope for an agreed way forward.”

A spokeswoman for the British Medical Association said: “We will consider the details of the NHS Employers’ proposal but are extremely concerned that it seems hitting staff pay yet further is the only offer on the table.”


Readers' comments (66)

  • Presumably if someone can be made compulsary redundant their post is no longer required, so what is the point in them remaining in employement? The reason I suspect is that for many NHS Trusts this course of action is prohibitively expensive, especially when those affected are at senior management grades. So is it a justifiable policy for more junior staff on scales 1-6 to pay the salaries of these, often well paid, people in redundant posts by forgoing their incremental pay increase? After all, agenda for change payscales often sees many professionals at these grades already woefully underpaid in comparrison with those at the top of the same payscale doing same job.

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  • notice its the lower bands of 1-6 who will be frozen, not the multitude of higher paid managers. Agenda for change was meant to take in account the increments that were due to arise in future.
    Also many nurses are not entitled to increments and there is no cost of living rises for the next couple of years or so

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  • Here we go, no pay rise for 2 years and now the prospect of no increments for 2 years. Don’t be fooled, it’s probably more expensive to make people redundant than stop their increments. I can just about tolerate the lack of a pay rise but to stop increments is a step too far, let them make people redundant and let’s see the state the NHS ends up in. Are the bankers foregoing their bonuses this year? I think not!

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  • How can the poores paid be treated like this? Unison stand up for the lower bands let our voices be heard
    It should only be effective from band 7 above. We have managers earning £80K + who have been pay protected for 10 years now working at bend 7.Yes the managers are laughing at us all the way to the bank.
    Merry Xmas

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  • Hold on a minute..I'm seeing a pattern here... they KEEP SHAFTING US, TIME & TIME & TIME AGAIN!!!

    They're lucky I'm a Christian and keep turning the other cheek, and British and very polite, and lack courage and feel dis-empowered, and too busy with X-Factor and Emmerdale, and if I wasn't I might even ask them nicely to STOP F'ING SHAFTING US!!! please

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  • What I want to know is how do we say

    Will the unions be fighting for us?
    A vote?

    I am a member of the RCN but feel I have no voice. How do we put a stop to this?
    We need action NOW!!! We're seen as a soft touch and a joke and enough is enough!

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  • We need to stand up and be counted! This cannot go on for any longer! We lost our cost of living %age and cost of living has gone through the roof- and I am sure it will go higher over next year with petrol, VAT and cotton prices going up and I am sure mortgage rates will go up next year too- not to forget those with children who will have the joy of paying £9,000 a year for uni fees. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.
    What if the increment is frozen for two years - do people really believe that they will kick start again after this time- come on!!!


    I will be writing to my MP and the unions and I honestly feel like striking.


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  • As usual, the Public sector is penalised. In 'boom' times we are awarded rises in line with inflation whilst the private sector sees inflation busting rises and then in 'bust' times our wages are frozen and now this. I have heard of rises in the private sector of 7% and over 10% in the past couple of weeks. Bankers wages have also seen massive increases recently to offset the reduction in bonuses.

    This just seems a way of reducing the inevitable redundancy bill when PCT's are abolished in 2013 - by capping wage increases now the subsequent redundancy payments will be reduced in 2013.

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  • This looks like the start of the big push to get us all out, if we let this happen, what will be next?
    We need to stand up and be counted as once this comes in, they won't reinstate, just take more.
    Cost of living has shot up and will do again come 2011 with the increase in VAT to 20%, petrol prices, childcare costs, mortgage rates etc etc.
    Unison - we now need to see some action now!!

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  • This is a trick to avoid compulsory redundancy payments, whilst impoverishing staff.

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