No to Postcode Pay

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2013 Health Care Service Group Conference
14 December 2012

UNISON has argued strongly over the last year that moving towards regional pay will be damaging to local economies, to NHS patients and to our members. Conference continues to oppose regional pay for the following key reasons:

i)Regional pay will drive down pay in lower cost areas of the country.

ii)Regional pay will lead to regional and gender inequalities.

iii)Regional pay will damage morale, recruitment and retention.

iv)Regional pay would be highly impractical and inefficient.

Moreover, Conference identifies that the justification for regional pay is misplaced and based on over-simplistic comparisons between the private and public sectors and strongly supports national pay rates in general and the Agenda for Change pay rates in particular as the best means of providing an efficient level playing field for all organisations providing NHS services and reducing organisational conflict.

Conference notes the following major pieces of work which have been undertaken by UNISON to develop and articulate the damaging impact that regional pay rates would have on the NHS:

a)joint TUC work to oppose regional pay;

b)parliamentary briefing sessions including fringe meetings at party conferences;

c)Incomes Data Services ‘Crowding out: Fact or fiction?’ research report for UNISON;

d)NHS Staff Side evidence to the Pay Review Body on Market-facing Pay (2012);

e)‘Postcode pay? – no way!’ campaign.

Conference supports the high-profile campaigns run in those branches and regions facing the introduction of local (non-Agenda for Change) pay rates and the large amount of work already undertaken by the union to oppose any moves by the Government to introduce regional pay into the NHS – either through formal mechanisms such as the Pay Review Body or via the back door through trusts breaking away from Agenda for Change.

Conference calls on the HSGE to:

1)continue to use all available mechanisms, including the annual Pay Review Body evidence round, to make the case for UK-wide pay rates applicable to all NHS organisations;

2)support regions and branches to run active ‘Postcode pay? no way!’ campaigns if threatened with moves away from Agenda for Change pay rates;

3)work with the TUC and other professional bodies and trade unions to maintain political opposition to the principle of regional pay in the NHS;

4)work with Labour Link to raise the issue of regional pay with MPs and councillors at a regional and national level;

5)lobby Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs and councillors over this issue.