Pay Determination in the NHS

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2009 Health Care Service Group Conference
12 December 2008
Carried as Amended

Conference recognises that the historic decision made at the 2007 Health Conference, to bring all health workers (except doctors) within the remit of the NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB), was made after many years of non-clinical staff having their interests put in second place after clinical groups.

The Pay Review Body (PRB), which previously covered nurses, midwives and Allied Health Professionals only, recommended above inflation pay rises in the great majority of years since its inception in 1984. Indeed during the period 1984 to 2005, pay for these groups rose 50% above inflation (RPI). By contrast groups not covered by the PRB but by a negotiating machinery had to accept the same as the PRB groups had already been given or in some years less.

Conference notes that the PRB process of independent review of pay is widely supported by all other NHS trade unions and in 2007 by a large majority of UNISON’s sectors and Regions.

The PRB has only been operating with its wider remit for one pay cycle, and other than receiving evidence on re-opening later this year, is not due to make further recommendations until 2011 due to the three year agreement negotiated with the Departments of Health and Employers.

Conference notes that membership of the Pay Review Body enables UNISON to compete against other Trade Unions for members from particular healthcare disciplines and to recruit members through strategic partnerships with professional bodies. Withdrawing from the PRB would put UNISON outside the process followed by other NHS Trade Unions and may therefore jeopardise long-term partnerships which bring significant numbers of members into our branches, giving rival organisations a competitive edge when recruiting new members.’

Conference believes the effectiveness of the NHSPRB process should be kept regularly under review and calls upon the SGE to provide regular reports to Health Conference on both the process and the outcome of the process each year.