A meeting has been called by Cheltenham & Gloucester Against Cuts and the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) to defend NHS staff in the South West against the unprecedented attack on the pay & conditions of health workers.
Thursday 8 November, 7.30 p.m. Barton Community Centre,
199 Barton St, Gloucester
Almost all NHS Trusts in the South West are planning to break away from national collective bargaining. To achieve this aim, Trust bosses, behind the backs of NHS workers, have paid £10,000 each to join a ‘consortium’ – money that should be spent on patient care!
The consortium’s proposals include:
- A reduction in basic pay
- Cuts to annual leave entitlement
- An increase in the working week
- Cuts in unsocial hours payments
- Performance related pay progression
defend nhs workers
fight the cuts & privatisation
The battle to defend community health services in Gloucestershire resulted in a reversal of NHS Gloucestershire’s plans to take local hospitals and services out of the NHS. Yet, as the encouraging news that a “stand-alone” NHS trust was being announced, moves were already underway to outsource admin staff. This new trust will eventually become a Foundation Trust. Privatisation of services thus remains on the agenda. Gloucestershire’s 2gether Trust has lost out on tendering for addiction services which have now gone to another provider. NHS staff who signed the Unison petition against the pay consortium were warned that failure to accept new working conditions and wages would result in their dismissal. A further £20 billion pounds worth of cuts are threatening the NHS, yet Gloucestershire Primary Care Trust paid out over £1.2 million last year in severance pay (due to the changes) which fuels staff anger and frustration. Tens of thousands of frontline medical staff have lost their jobs under this government alone. Jobs, wages, working conditions and services are all threatened. Union activists report mounting anger, but also low staff morale and continued management intimidation.
So the example of NHS admin staff at the Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust is encouraging. Last Thursday admin & clerical workers at three hospitals took strike action in defence of pay. Management hopes to deal with massive debts from a rip-off PFI (Private Finance Initiative) deal for a new hospital by down-banding low paid staff from Grade 4 to Grade 3 (i.e. a loss of £1,700 to £2,800 a year). Compulsory redundancies are also on the agenda. A shop steward for medical secretaries, said: “We’ve been pushed to the absolute limit with these proposals. The Trust is spending hundreds of thousands of pounds on an outside management consultancy agency, whilst wanting to cut our pay by up to 20%”. This reminds us of System 21 – “unaffectionately” known as Systems P45 – which has been generously paid to cull jobs in Gloucester Royal.