Tory health minister Jeremy Hunt says NHS staff can only receive the 1% pay increase (which is a pay cut in real terms) if we agree to wholesale destruction of working conditions. This includes an end to incremental rises, cuts in unsocial hours and cuts in annual leave. The aim of any changes is to slash the wages bill.
Oxford University Hospitals Trust has already proposed cutting over a thousand staff, forcing remaining staff to work harder to if services are to be maintained. Southern Health rammed through cuts in unsocial hours earlier this year for band 2 and 3 social care staff. Similar attacks are escalating across the NHS and demand a response.
This latest attack comes on top of three years of pay freeze, increased pensions contributions and years of extra work before we retire, the removal of the cost of living supplement for high cost areas, spiralling cost of living, and greater demands at work. UNISON has calculated that NHS staff have lost between 8% and 10% of their pay in the last three years alone. Enough is enough.
While we face pay cuts The Oxford Mail reports that OUHT bonuses for 8 OUHT Directors went up by 61% to £119,243 last year.
In response to the latest attack on NHS pay UNISON stewards are calling protests at hospitals across the UK.
Protest Friday 11th October at the Warneford Hospital main gate from 12.30 onwards.
NO MORE PAY CUTS
PROTECT WORKING CONDITIONS
FIGHT FOR QUALITY PATIENT CARE
UNISON has issued a national statement which can be seen at http://www.unison.org.uk/news/general-secretarys-blog/how-much-lower-can-government-sink and Oxfordshire UNISON Health Branch Secretary has written to the local press on behalf of members (see below) which clearly articulates the injustice of the proposed cuts.
I'm writing to express my concerns about the impact of the recent statement from the Department of Health calling for a 1% pay increase to be made dependent on NHS staff surrendering their right to full pay.
When staff begin work in the NHS we are paid less than the full rate for the job. For instance a new staff nurse will be paid £21,388 a year instead of £27,901. Catering assistants and cleaning staff, will start on £14,294 instead of £15.013. Over the years as staff develop our skills we move on to the full rate for the job. It is debatable about whether this is good system - the slow progression to full pay is hardly fair, particularly in one of the most expensive cities in the country.
What is certainly not acceptable is that staff should be left by this government trying to survive on the lowest pay point for year after year as inflation spirals and while top financiers whose reckless greed caused this crisis continue to help themselves to bonuses in millions.
Mr Cameron should understand: healthworkers are not demoralised. We are getting increasingly angry by the anti-NHS policies we all face.
Secretary, UNISON Oxfordshire Health Branch”