The CSP has criticised plans that could see trusts in south west England break away from the national Agenda for Change agreement and potentially cut pay, terms and conditions for CSP members and other staff.
The South West Pay Terms and Conditions consortium is examining proposals to cut the pay bill by linking incremental progression to performance and removing unsocial hours payments for staff who are sick, according to leaked documents seen by the CSP.
These plans mirror what NHS employers have proposed nationally and which are currently subject to a consultation of staff unions, including the CSP.
The consortium is also looking at raising working hours and cutting annual leave entitlements for long-serving staff.
According to an article in The Sunday Times (15 July), another leaked consortium document indicates it is considering sacking and re-engaging staff on lower pay.
The consortium’s steering committee, comprising representatives of member trusts, held its first meeting on 29 June.
In a statement it said it had a ‘duty’ to ‘preserve service for patients’ and ‘protect employees as far as possible’.
Andy Ballard, CSP senior negotiating officer for the south west, has been working closely with other unions and stewards locally on this issues.
He said: ‘The consortium’s plans are creating much alarm and uncertainty among our members at a time when they face further real-terms pay reductions following a two-year pay freeze and while they are working harder than ever before.
Highly-motivated and committed staff are essential to deliver high quality patient care.
Cutting pay, terms and conditions are not only wrong but would be thoroughly counter-productive.’
The consortium has made a commitment to work ‘positively and constructively’ with trade unions and said it was ‘fully supportive’ of national discussions between employers and unions over possible changes to Agenda for Change.
The CSP and other health unions have warned NHS Employers that the consortium’s activities could scupper national discussions.
Peter Finch, CSP’s assistant director of employment relations and union services, said: ‘If the consortium is committed to good relations with unions and supports the national talks, it should let them run their course and stop hatching local plans to the detriment of hard-working professional NHS staff.’
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