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Bid to stop regional pay loses vote

Posted: 8 November 2012 by Rob Dabrowski

A motion calling on the coalition government to put an end to regional pay has been defeated in the Commons.

The Labour motion, attacking the South West pay cartel and spread of regional pay, lost the vote by 292 votes to 226.

The debate took place yesterday (7 November) after RCM chief executive Cathy Warwick wrote to MPs from the area asking them to oppose the cartel.

Many MP rallied against the plans, which break away from Agenda for Change, and shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said the NHS was ‘fragmenting before our eyes’.

However, Conservative MPs said they had not encouraged the consortium and blamed Labour for previously giving more freedom to trusts.

Conservative junior health minister Dr Dan Poulter said the trusts in the cartel have ‘used the freedoms given to them by the previous Labour government’.

The motion followed a debate earlier in the day about the regional pay.

At the earlier debate, Alison Seabeck, a Labour MP from Plymouth, said ‘this is causing huge concern’.

She continued: ‘NHS regional pay was tried and looked at in the 1990s. It was put to one side.

‘Regional pay isn’t an idea whose time has come, it’s an idea whose time has long passed.’

She said that because the government was not opposing the cartel, it is, in essence, supporting it.

Talks are currently ongoing between unions and NHS Employers and a meeting of the NHS Staff Council Executive is set to take place tomorrow (9 November).

The RCM is holding a series of meeting with midwives across the region about the pay cartel.

The issue will also be discussed at the RCM’s workplace representative conference in Brighton, which takes place next week.