20 NHS employers in the South West region have formed a pay cartel to slash staff pay and smash staff terms and conditions.  Worryingly one senior HR person in Oxford Health announced to union reps that he will approaching his high level personal contacts inside the cartel for advice, raising the question of whether Oxfordshire employers might be considering a similar move to attack pay. 

UNISON is currently consulting branches over NHS employer demands for cuts in the Agenda for Change national pay agreement that would reduce sick pay, introduce performance related pay and agree to "re-profiling" sections of the workforce, which is widely thought to mean changing higher paid bands for lower paid ones to further reduce the wages bill.

It is clear that the government has given a green light for employers to pursue regional pay, pushing the idea that staff in lower cost areas have too much disposable income and can therefore tolerate cuts.  However it is also clear that employers in high cost areas want to reduce pay, and even informal contact with the cartel by local employers should alert memebers to their intentions.  

Though national employers are already united in their attack on the national agreement, it is clear that for s significant number of them this is not enough.  A document leaked from the South West cartel shows they want far more stringent cuts including:

  • cuts in annual leave
  • revising (downwards) payments for unsocial hours, wekends, nights and bank holidays.
  • fewer increments in bands with attainment on these based on "excellent" performance.

The consortium aims to reduce the overall portion paid to wages from 70% to 60% of the organisations running costs in addition to creating "terms and conditions that are focused on improving engagement of staff and aligning to create a fit for purpose, flexible workforce able to respond to any
qualified provider.", that is soften up staff terms and conditions ready for privatisation.

The full document can be found here.