Union members call on trust board to reject ‘pay cartel’

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HEALTH workers continued their campaign against a controversial pay consortium yesterday (Tuesday) with another demonstration outside Barnstaple hospital.

Unison members are lobbying board meetings of each of the 20 trusts taking part in the process, which is looking at a range of pay and conditions options.

The union claims the work of what it calls the ‘South West Pay Cartel’ could lead to 15 per cent pay cuts, on the back of years of pay freezes and rising workloads.

Yesterday morning, demonstrators bearing placards and banners urged passing motorists to sound their horn in support of their local health workers.

Unison claims it is a ‘gunboat diplomacy’ bid to set regional pay and conditions that will undermine ongoing national negotiations.

Trudie Brailey, chairman of the Staffside group at North Devon District Hospital, said:

“UNISON has made a heartfelt plea to the board to withdraw from the cartel,” she said.

“It is an insult to staff the trust has chosen to use £10,000 to investigate ways to slash staff pay, terms and conditions, and have the audacity to claim that they’re actually trying to reward staff.”

Health authorities and the consortium have continued to insist no recommendations or proposals are on the table at present.

Northern Devon Healthcare Trust needs to save £60 million over the next five years and has just completed a round of early discussions with our staff via presentations highlighting the challenges and the options being explored.

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