North Devon leaves health pay consortium

North Devon District Hospital, Barnstaple

North Devon District Hospital, Barnstaple - Credit: Archant

Unions celebrate as health bosses decide to withdraw from the controversial discussions on regional pay for staff.

NORTHERN Devon Healthcare Trust has withdrawn from a controversial consortium that has been considering imposing regional pay and conditions on health staff.

According to Unison, the trust wrote to staff this morning (Friday) to explain what it was going to do next regarding the South West Pay Consortium and this afternoon confirmed in a shorter statement that it would no longer be taking part in the process.

Staff and union members had feared the discussions – which involved 19 NHS trusts including North Devon – would lead to pay cuts, less holidays and more working hours if the regional pay conditions were implemented in the South West.

The past months have seen several demonstrations outside Barnstaple hospital as Unison members called on the trust to abandon what they called a ‘pay cartel’.

“This is great news for our members and shows the success of Unison’s ongoing campaign against regional and postcode pay,” said regional secretary Joanne Kaye.

“These are exceptionally difficult times, but with the threat of regional pay no longer hanging over members’ heads, Unison looks forward to working with the trust to face up to the challenges they are facing as a result of the Coalition Government’s austerity policies.

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“We applaud this move and call on the other 18 trusts still in the pay cartel to follow their lead.”

The trust had said previously that it needed to make savings of £60million during the next five years.

Helen Willis, Unison regional manager, added: “Locally, members are delighted the shadow of potential pay cuts has been lifted so they can get on with doing their jobs looking after patients rather than worrying about how they will be paying their bills.

“This just shows the importance of the hard-won national negotiations to ensure the future Agenda for Change, the national terms and conditions for health staff negotiated between the trade unions and the NHS.”

The Gazette has asked Northern Devon Healthcare Trust for a statement.

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