Proposal to Reduce the Agenda for Change Working Week to 35 Hours per Week

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2014 Health Care Service Group Conference
28 November 2013

Over 30,000 jobs have been lost in the NHS since the current government took office and at the same time, they have put in place a pay freeze for NHS staff between 2011 and 2013, and following on from that, caps on any pay award in the public sector at an average of 1% increase until 2015. The effect of this when taking into account inflation, means an effective four year period of real term pay cuts for hard pressed NHS staff amounting to an approximate 18% cut in living standards for the duration of this current coalition government.

Conference notes the superb response by UNISON members in campaigns defending the NHS as well as the support the public gave in our campaign on Pensions in 2011 and the more recent march in Manchester during 2013.

A 1% pay award across the Public Sector following a two year pay freeze results in unacceptable levels of hardship for NHS workers and that coupled with NHS Trusts downgrading Agenda for Change staff because their Directors have failed to keep a grip on spending, or as a result of organisational change. This results in additional stress to hard-working NHS staff.

Conference calls on the Health Service Group Executive to campaign to increase in real terms our pay, by reducing the working week for full time staff from the current 37.5 hours to 35 hours phased over a two year period or less, without loss of pay under Agenda for Change Terms and Conditions. This is likely to reduce sickness, stress, injuries and clinical incidents among overworked staff in the clinical environment. Radiographers, for example tend to have periods of sickness with back injuries due to the one-to-one physical demands of the job and the increased hours, 35 to 37.5 at the inception of Agenda for Change, which have taken their toll, hence the greater use of agency staff used in this particular discipline.

In real terms, by reducing our full time working week over a two year period from 37.5 to 35 hours without loss of earnings, will increase our pay above the 1% threshold and provide a safer working environment for clinical based staff. We therefore ask Conference to support this motion.