UNISON chief, Dave Prentis, has called on Trusts across the country to work together with health unions to ensure the smooth implementation of changes to NHS staff pay, terms and conditions. The call comes in the wake of a meeting of the NHS staff council that ratified a new joint agreement*.
Dave Prentis is in the southwest today (27 February) where, prior to the agreement, 19 NHS Trusts had moved towards breaking away from agenda for change** and introducing local terms and conditions. The union is calling for those plans to be shelved and the new agreement implemented across the region for the benefit of patients and staff.
Speaking ahead of his visit to the Bristol Royal Infirmary, Dave Prentis, said:
“Agenda for Change has stood the test of time. It introduced fair and equal pay into the NHS and has helped to preserve industrial peace. Following complex negotiations, UNISON members backed the latest changes to their pay and conditions as the best way to preserve national pay bargaining.
“Now that we have a national agreement, I want to send a very clear message to all Trusts in England to stick to that agreement. I am convinced that most employers will see the sense in working together for the benefit of patients and staff.
“I am also calling on the south west consortium to think carefully about the benefits of the new agreement and avoid stirring up more industrial unrest. Any rogue employers thinking of going it alone and breaking away from national pay and bargaining should be under no illusions – UNISON will fiercely resist this. We will concentrate all our resources into stopping it and in supporting our members fight to keep their national pay and conditions.”
** The Agenda for Change system was introduced in 2004 and allocates posts to set pay bands, using the Job Evaluation Scheme. It is designed to deliver fair pay for non-medical staff based on the principle of ‘equal pay for work of equal value’; provide better links between pay and career progression using the Knowledge and Skills Framework and harmonise terms and conditions of service such as annual leave, hours and sick pay, and work done in ‘unsocial hours’.