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CSP says NHS trust in north east England is ‘railroading’ staff to accept new contract or face sack

8 October 2012 - 4:58pm

The CSP says North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust is using heavy handed tactics and trying to railroad staff into agreeing new contracts or face the sack.

The trust has issued an HR1 form which identifies 5,452 staff at the trust. Employers are required to issue HR1s - ‘advance notification of redundancies’ forms - when they intend to ‘dismiss 20 or more employees at one establishment within a period of 90 days or less’,  according to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. 
 
In practice, the proposals mean that if the 5,452 members of staff - of whom 97 are CSP members - do not agree to new terms and conditions by end of March 2013, they would all be dismissed. 
 
Subsequently, they would be offered re-employment on new, inferior terms and conditions. The new contract would come into effect on 1 November 2012, piling further pressure on staff. 
 
The trust said it has begun a one-month consultation with staff over plans to remove their entitlement to sickness enhancements under certain circumstances.
 
It is proposing to vary sickness pay levels in a unilateral way, contradicting current national terms and conditions agreed under AfC.
 
Rosie Lloyd, CSP senior negotiating officer, said: ‘The trust is being very confrontational especially as national negotiations on possible changes to Agenda for Change (AfC) terms and conditions are ongoing. This is a clear departure from the established national negotiating process.' 
 
‘These heavy-handed tactics by the trust are very concerning to CSP members and other staff at the trust. Physiotherapy staff just want to deliver the very best patient care to their patients. That's what management should be focusing on too.
 
‘The trust is trying to railroad our members into signing new, less favourable contracts. The ultimate threat is that if they do not sign, they will all be sacked and offered re-employment on new contracts at the end of March 2013.' 
 

National picture

Health unions are currently in national discussions with employers and the Department of Health over proposals to agree new AfC terms and conditions. 'The trust’s actions are very damaging and undermine national negotiations,' said CSP assistant director Peter Finch, who is representing CSP members at the talks.
 
Local 'staff side' unions have promised a 'robust' response to the trusts' proposals.
 
Meanwhile, employers in south west England are also making plans that would see NHS trusts break away from UK-wide terms and conditions. 
 
 
 
 

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