UNISON members to consider 'tough choice'

Through gritted teeth I post this UNISON Press Release for your information. What was it at the TUC Congress? “Coordinated industrial action in defence of jobs and services”.

Martin Wicks

UNISON, the UK’s largest public service union, today (10 December) said NHS workers face a difficult decision over whether to accept the NHS Employers’ offer to guarantee no compulsory redundancies in England, in return for agreeing to freezing their pay and incremental progression for two years.

Mike Jackson, Senior National Officer said:

“The NHS is going through a hard time with trusts being told to make £20bn in efficiency savings. The offer of a no compulsory redundancy agreement has the potential to offer job security but our members are still being asked to make a very tough choice. They know only too well, that more job losses will hit the quality of patient care. They also have families to feed and mortgages to pay and the prospect of a two-year pay and increment freeze means it is not an easy option.

In return for the agreement, staff terms and conditions under Agenda for Change, would also be protected. A number of Trusts have recently imposed changes on the workforce and these should be reversed.

In addition, the employers have asked the Treasury not to implement the 1% increase in employees’ pension contributions, due to go up on 1 April 2012 as part of their offer.

We will have to give this offer serious consideration, but the final decision will be in the hands of our members.”

The no compulsory redundancy agreement would apply to staff on bands 1 – 6. Above that between 7 -9, covering managers and senior clinicians, Trusts will seek to find alternatives, such as redeployment, before making any redundancies.

It is likely that all the health unions will be consulting in the immediate future with their Executives to decide the next steps. It is unlikely that any discussions or consultations could be completed before the end of February.

Any national agreement would then be the subject of local agreement from both staff, their trade unions and NHS Trusts.

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