They are proposing a "national enabling agreement" (covering England only) which would allow local organisations to agree with staff sides a freeze on incremental progression in return for a commitment of no compulsory redundancies for "as many staff as possible".
The enabling agreement would leave it to local employers to decide, with trade union staff sides, whether or not to use the agreement, if they decide not to then they would be free to exercise "existing freedoms".
The proposal also states the enabling agreement "does not provide for any other amendments to the NHS Terms and Conditions Handbook". However, it should be noted that it doesn`t seem to prohibit amendments either.
The no compulsory guarantee will only apply to staff in Bands 1-6 (slightly less than 50% of CSP members working in the NHS). For staff in Bands 7-9 the proposal would "give priority to the avoidance of any compulsory redundancy".
The proposal will also apply to medical and dental staff.
In addition, NHS Employers "would explore with HM Treasury the possibility of deferring the increase in employees' contributions to their pension until the end of the freeze" (2013).
The trade unions asked a number of questions to which we have asked NHS Employers for a swift response:
- precisely what is the funding gap in the NHS
- what other savings are planned and how will they be achieved
- how many jobs are at risk and how many redundancies will this proposal avoid
- the costings by pay band
- can FTs guarantee no compulsory redundancies
- rationale for only guaranteeing Bands 1-6, why not 7-9
- how many employers would agree this proposal and abide by it
- confirmation if local staff sides do not agree this there is no agreement to freeze increments
- is the deferring of pension contributions an offer or not.
Any decision on whether to consider the proposals would depend on answers to the above questions and views from each of the NHS unions' national committees.
The CSP Industrial Relations Committee will give the proposals serious consideration. Agreement would be subject to formal consultation with our memberships.