The South West TUC is calling for trade unionists to put a further nail in the coffin of the NHS pay cartel by attending tomorrow’s (Saturday, December 1) protest event in Bristol.
Health workers and their supporters are meeting at 11am in the city’s Castle Park to protest against the 19 health trusts in the region proposing to opt out of national pay agreement – a move unions fear will lead up to 88,000 NHS staff having a 15% pay cut and changes to holiday and other entitlements.
The cartel was on Tuesday criticised by health minister Dan Poulter for its “heavy handed” approach. He went on to say the government was working with unions to maintain the national agreement.
Already one of the trusts, Bournemouth, has pulled out of the cartel and unions believe others are realising that they have gone down the wrong path.
Urging people to join the Bristol demonstration, South West TUC regional secretary Nigel Costley said: “The pay cartel has no friends anywhere anymore – even the government has dis-owned them.
“As a concept, regional pay should be dead and buried, and the sooner these rogue trusts realise this, the sooner they can concentrate on providing decent care for their patients using nationally agreed pay and conditions for their staff.”
Unions have led the campaign against the cartel, arguing it is unfair to expect health workers in the South West to receive less pay than their counterparts elsewhere in the country while doing the same jobs, and highlighting the difficulties employers will have in attracting staff to the region for second-rate pay and conditions.
(from a press release)