NHS Pay Campaign

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Conference
2015 Health Care Service Group Conference
Date
5 December 2014
Decision
Carried as Amended

Conference congratulates health branches and the health service group executive on the industrial action taken to date as part of the NHS pay dispute.

Conference notes that NHS workers continue to see the value of their pay being cut year on year as a result of the pay policies of governments across the UK and the treasury limits on public sector pay in general. The different outcomes from governments have led to different rates of pay in different parts of the UK.

Conference also notes the implied threat to unsocial hours payments in the remit to the Pay Review Body in 2015 from the English and Welsh Governments and the ongoing attack on incremental progression. This year’s IDS NHS staff survey commissioned by the staff side unions identified that over half of those that responded to the survey relied on unsocial hours payments/ special duty / shift premia or overtime as an additional payment to sustain their standard of living. The percentage of respondents relying on these forms of payments have increased by nearly 10 per cent in the last two years, emphasising not only the degree to which the value of NHS pay has fallen, but that staff on the lower bands rely on unsocial hours payments as a valuable source of supplementary income. Data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) identified that 42% of the non-medical workforce receive shift payments, this includes 79% of qualified midwifes, 60% of nursing staff and 97% of ambulance staff. The IDS staff survey identified that any changes to the current system of unsocial hours payment would have a financially profound impact on a majority of NHS staff, with staff unwilling to work these hours.

Pay in the private sector is increasing and the Westminster Government is claiming the UK is coming out of a period of austerity. Yet at the same time the NHS is being starved of funds while demand continues to rise leading to more NHS providers heading for deficits and staff continually being asked to do more for less. In addition, there are still 77,000 staff in the NHS who don’t receive the living wage.

Conference calls on the Health Service Group Executive to:

1) continue to keep fair pay in the NHS as a major focus of the unions “Worth It” campaign and in UNISON’s organising in the lead up to the general election;

2) campaign for pay in the NHS to “catch up” with inflation, to press for consolidated pay increases and restore the value of pay lost through pay freezes and pay caps;

3) make achieving the living wage for all NHS workers central to our pay campaigning work;

4) mount a vigorous defence of the principle and the value of unsocial hours payments, noting that evidence shows that nearly half of the non-medical workforce are reliant on some form of shift payment in order to sustain their standard of living;

5) work with health committees in the regions and devolved nations to highlight the importance of pay with members and encourage health committees to draw up an action plan to ensure pay campaigning is on the agenda for every branch.