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CSP rallies Lib Dem conference against local pay

26 September 2012 - 4:39pm

CSP director of employment relations and union services, and new TUC president, Lesley Mercer, criticised proposals for regional NHS pay and mounted a robust defence of Agenda for Change, at the Liberal Democrat party conference in Brighton.

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Lesley mercer: 'I challenge the coalition to carry out and publish a thorough equality impact assessment before taking any decisions'

Speaking at a fringe meeting arranged by union-backed think tank Unions21, Ms Mercer said previous experiments in local NHS pay bargaining had resulted in local disputes that destabilised ‘poorer’ trusts. They also produced time-consuming local negotiations that took union reps away from treating patients, she said.

Ms Mercer said of the schemes in the 1990s: ‘The experiment was so lacking in success that it was a Conservative government that wound it up and restored national pay bargaining.’

Agenda for Change

Agenda for Change had established an equality-proofed, national pay reward system, and Ms Mercer warned that a return to local pay bargaining would mean more local disputes; greater demoralisation of the public sector workforce; and could hit gender pay equality.

‘I challenge the coalition to carry out and publish a thorough equality impact assessment before taking any decisions to introduce local pay,’ she said.

The Liberal Democrat conference voted overwhelmingly to back a motion opposing local pay in the public sector.

CSP assistant director of employment relations and union services, Peter Finch, said: ‘The Lib Dems are an influential addition to a growing number of voices recognising that moves away from national pay arrangements would be a mistake, both from a moral and economic point of view.’

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