UNISON welcomes halt to mental health trust’s pension sacrifice plan

Trust’s management withdraws plans to offer more pay to nurses if they sacrifice pension contributions

UNISON has welcomed the news that a mental health trust has halted a controversial recruitment scheme, in which nursing staff were offered choice between sacrificing pension contributions and improved pay.

The Oxleas Foundation Trust said that it was considering a deal aimed at attracting agency nurses that offered band five nurses higher pay if they opted out of the NHS pension scheme.

The intention was to try to recruit nurses who had previously left the NHS and taken up agency work.

UNISON head of health Christina McAnea said: “I am pleased the trust has listened to the unions’ request to think again about offering higher pay to new staff who opt out of the NHS pension scheme.

“We recognise the difficulties the trust has in recruiting and retaining staff, and we are keen to work with managers to solve these problems.”

But she concluded: “It is not in the interest of NHS staff to leave the pension scheme that will help provide for them when they retire.”

The trust says that it would honour the offer made to existing staff.