UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Health pay cuts condemned by RCN – UNISON to decide on 10 January‏

The Daily Mirror reports on strong opposition within the RCN membership to proposals by the NHS employers, backed by the Con Dem ministers, to make pay cuts of approximately £1000 by withholding increments from some NHS grades for the next two years. This being in addition to a Government imposed pay freeze for all NHS workers with salaries over £21 000.

RCN leader Peter Carter, who had previously hedged his bets about the offer, said “It’s an ill-thought out, desperate act to balance the books. The reaction from nurses is overwhelming – this is a step too far. The mood is very angry.” http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/health-news/2010/12/30/condems-target-nurses-for-500-pay-cut-115875-22814601/

Views of individual nursing staff posted on Facebook are reported, “why is it always the nurses? The NHS is notoriously good at wasting money. They need to look into other ways of saving cash instead of freezing pay and making the wards work dangerously short staffed. Do we have to wait for a patient to die and a nurse to be struck off for unsafe practice before something is done about this?”

Labour shadow health secretary John Healey is quoted “It’s a sign of the strain in the NHS that hard-working nurses are speaking out so strongly.”

The Daily Mirror itself makes an editorial comment about the proposals describing them as a ‘sick joke’:

'Nurses do a gruelling and often thankless job for money most politicians wouldn’t get out of bed for. But coalition ministers have decided that hitting NHS staff with a two-year wage freeze is not enough. Annual increments, worth about £500 a year to the average nurse, are the latest targets for the Con Dems’ axe. The move risks a fresh exodus from the profession which, in turn, will damage patient care and put lives at risk. Nurses have the backing of all those who can see that David Cameron’s pledge to protect the NHS was a sick joke. The Prime Minister has broken a promise to increase funding and is opening the health service to private sector vultures. Targeting the carers who provide the human face of the NHS adds insult to injury.’

UNISON’s health care service group executive meets on 10 January 2011 to consider the ‘deal’ on offer from NHS management.

Further analysis and comment by UNISON members employed in the NHS will be published by UNISON Active ahead of that vital meeting.