Campaign for 35 hour week

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2004 Health Care Service Group Conference
5 January 2004

This Conference notes that for some years we have had a policy supporting the call for a 35 hour week for all health workers, with no loss of pay.

If the Agenda For Change proposals are agreed, some health workers would have their hours reduced (in some cases by stages) to 37.5 hours, but others would have an increase to 37.5 hours. Harmonisation of hours on this basis would not, therefore, be a clear step in the direction of a 35 hour week for all health workers.

We therefore agree to renew the campaign for a 35 hour week for all health workers, to include the following actions:

1.The next pay claims (whether under Agenda For Change or Whitley Council structure) to include a timetable of not more than 5 years for all health workers to move to a 35 hour week without loss of pay;

2.Materials to be produced for health workers setting out the case for a 35 hour week, including an explanation of what ‘without loss of pay’ means, especially for workers who usually calculate their pay by an hourly rate;

3.Materials to be produced for the public explaining the campaign, and why it is part of our view of modernisation of the NHS.

4.Information to be produced to address the management side’s likely response that any decrease in hours must either be paid for within existing budgets and/or matched by increased productivity. This should include an estimate of the extra funding which would be necessary to decrease hours without such budgetary constraints. It should also link the campaign to the ‘Improving Working Lives’ programme;

5.Regional Health Committees to be urged to hold discussions about the campaign for a 35 hour week;

6.Branches to be urged to hold meetings with members to discuss the campaign for a 35 hour week.