UNISON wins U-turn for trainee nursing associates

Sheffield trust had planned to axe training and cut the pay of its TNAs

UNISON won an important victory today, after the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust reversed a decision to cut the pay of trainee nursing associates and end their training.

The trainees received letters on Monday telling them that, because of the coronavirus crisis, their training would be ended, with no resumption guaranteed.

They would also be expected to take a pay cut of up to £1,700 – even as they were deployed to the frontline in the fight against COVID-19.

Nursing associate training primarily involves on-the-job learning.

However, after a quick response by UNISON, and with members showing “great solidarity and resilience,” the planned move has been scrapped.

The trust has announced that trainees will be paid at the proper rate for the duration of the crisis and that, when training can restart, they’ll be able to take up their places once more.

Yorkshire and Humberside regional organiser Sue Cookman said that the decision had been a “PR disaster” that “flew in the face of government guidelines.” Nationwide, it has been decided that the vital work that trainees are doing might count toward their training.

She welcomed the trust’s change of heart, adding: “The members will be hugely reassured by this, as am I.

“I hope that we can continue to work constructively together with the trust, in partnership in the testing times that surely lie ahead.”