Kelvin Makenzie, the UNISON Assistant General Secretary will be speaking at the Oxfordshire UNISON Health branch Annual General Meeting this Saturday 25th January, 6 pm, Four Pillars Hotal, Abigndon Rd, Oxford.  The meeting is open to all branch members.

One of the main concerns will be the announcement by the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, that NHS staff can have no pay rise unless we accept cuts in our terms and conditions.  The cuts proposed by employers include cuts in annual leave, removal of the incremental pay progression and further cuts in sick pay.

The AGM is a chance for branch members to tell UNISON leadership what they want to happen.  We will be debating and voting on a motion calling for a defence of pay.  A large turnout for the vote will send a strong message to UNISON's leadership that we won't accept further cuts and we want them to turn the words of the Worth It campaign into action.  We know we have had 12-16% cuts since 2008, now we want a plan to halt this decline and recover what we have had taken away.

Anyone attending the AGM before 7 pm will be eligible for entry into the prize raffle that will be drawn at the end of the meeting.  After the meeting their will be a party with a meal paid from branch funds for those who book.  This year the party will be celebrating Anthea Parson's retirement as UNISON convenor.

All members can attend the AGM and party and can bring one guest for free but you must book a meal for each of you if you would like one to be provided on the night.

Meals can be booked here or through your local steward.

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.

Oxfordshire NHS services are facing severe cuts and the prospect of privatisation as government reforms begin to bite.

  • 1,500+ planned job cuts at the Oxford University Hospitals Trust
  • NOC OT's face downbanding
  • Oxford Health Foundation Trust service redesign includes cuts to jobs, beds and nursing cover.

And this is just the start as NHS budgets prove inadequate to meet demand.  NHS bosses are openly saying they can no longer make cuts without closing services - undermining the health care of everyone who depends on the NHS and the terms and conditions of stff who look after them.

More Oxfordshire services are being put out to tender without any guarantee that NHS Trusts will secure contracts.  Nationally the majority - over 80% -  of clinical contracts awarded since April have been awarded to private health companies.

This year the “independent” NHS Pay Review Body agreed to the government’s demands that pay should be held down to 1% - a very poor proposal given steady inflation and years of pay freeze. (Our national negotiators told them the freeze had led to a pay drop of 9%).
None-the-less something interesting did slip out in their report on market facing pay where they noted in their best NHS  management speak: “the cost of commissioning or providing healthcare services is not the same in every part of the country
due to the impact of market forces on local costs.

UNISON is asking NHS staff across England how they feel about a proposed 1% pay rise for 2013 and whether they want to take action against this.  The pay briefing sent out to UNISON branches points out that since 2010 staff have had wage cuts equivalent to between 8% and 12% , once price rises are taken into account.

That means NHS staff are substantially poorer than 2 years ago, and 1% does nothing to address this.  You can let UNISON know what you think of the 1% by talking to your visiting the survey here local steward or emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or texting 07503169657 before 28th April 2013.

At a time of continuing pay freeze, increasing pension contributions, and spiralling living costs some astonishing national negotiations are taking place. In response to demands from employers for cuts to balance their books the NHS Staff Council is proposing to agree cuts to pay and conditions for NHS staff.

National negotiators from some NHS unions now suggest that we agree an initial package of cuts for April 2013 in the hope that it will dissuade some NHS employers from attempting to destroy large parts of our NHS pay, terms and conditions agreement, Agenda for Change.
Over the next weeks we will get information from different parts of the union about these proposals. Our branch leadership, made up of your fellow health workers, is firmly opposed to this deal. The proposals are below plus a branch commentary.