Health unions angry over pay comments

By Julie Griffiths on 01 December 2017 Secretary of State for Health Pay and Agenda For Change

Health unions, including the RCM, have voiced their opposition to comments made by Jeremy Hunt about changes to pay.

In an interview with the HSJ, the secretary of state for health said that he wanted to change the way more than one million NHS staff in England, including midwives, are paid by introducing a ‘more professional pay structure’.

His proposals include changes to reduce the extra amounts staff receive for overnight and weekend working.

RCM director for policy, employment relations and communications Jon Skewes said: ‘It would appear that the secretary of state for health has ignored the advice of unions and others engaged in exploratory negotiations on the pay claim for NHS staff, and on the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay structure. That advice was to explore more and talk less. His intervention has not helped the prospect of a deal on pay in the NHS.

‘We regard the AfC agreement as a most professional contract that is based on equal pay for work of equal value and we will not be prepared to weaken it. We think the pay structure could be improved but we will not be prepared to reduce the fair compensation that midwives and other staff in the NHS receive for providing a service that is there every day, every night, every weekend, every bank holiday, every Christmas holiday.

‘Mr Hunt would be well advised to address the real terms pay loss our members have suffered over the last seven years. It would be entirely unacceptable to ask midwives and other NHS staff to fund their own pay increase through cutting their terms and conditions.’