Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Say No to Regional Pay

Weston Area Health Trust has recently paid £10,000 to join a group of South West NHS Trusts who are now working together to look at ways of reducing staff pay, terms and conditions. This would see them break away from Agenda for Change – the NHS national terms and conditions, and move to regional pay, which means that health care workers in the South West would have worse pay and conditions than in other parts of the country.

UNISON is firmly opposed to any attempt to undermine Agenda for Change and the national bargaining process, which underpins it. Not only will this punish health care workers with further cuts, it will have a devastating impact on the local and regional economies, as well as driving down NHS standards of patient care.

What you can do

Use the template letter to:
Email your MP by using the following link:
Write to your MP
Weston super Mare MP - John Penrose, 24-26 Alexandra Parade, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, BS23 1QX
North Somerset MP – Dr Liam Fox, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA         
Write to your Councillor
Find out who your Councillor is at:
Send your letter to your Councillor at: North Somerset Council, Town Hall, Weston super Mare, BS23 IUJ

Attend the monthly meetings at the hospital – next meetings are:

  • 25th September at 12.30 at Weston Hospital, Waverley Room 
  • 24th October at 12.30 at Weston Hospital, Waverley Room
  • 6th November at 12.30 at Weston Hospital Lecture Theatre
  • 29th November at 12.30 at Weston Hospital, Waverley Room

Attend UNISON's lobby of North Somerset Council's Meeting on 25th September at 5.30 pm outside the Town Hall in Weston super Mare, where a motion against regional pay will be debated.

Sign the petition by following this link:

Get more information from the TUC's Pay Fair Campaign website:


Why Regional Pay Doesn't Add Up

We all want to see fair pay for the nurses, teachers and others who work hard to deliver good public services. But on top of pay freezes, the government now wants to change the way pay is set in the public sector.

Instead of a fair, transparent national system, they want local or regional pay that would mean different rates for people doing exactly the same jobs, just because of where they live.

Here are just five reasons why it doesn't add up:

It's unfair

Regional pay could mean two nurses or teachers with the same skills and experience being paid differently in two different places - even though they're doing the same job. People should be paid based on their skills and the work they do, not where they live. Low pay could make it harder for poorer regions to attract and keep the skilled public sector workers they need.

Regional pay could also work against equal pay. Great progress has been made in the public sector in narrowing the pay gap between women and men. For instance, the Agenda for Change system in the NHS was designed to deliver equal pay. Bringing in local or regional pay could unravel this progress.

It's bad for the economy

Public sector workers are already feeling the pinch from pay freezes, the VAT rise and inflation. Regional pay would mean holding back pay for even longer in the parts of the country that are struggling the most.

Holding back public sector pay will take money out of public sector workers' pockets that they would otherwise spend in local shops and businesses. Taking demand out of the economy like this will hurt the private sector and widen the north-south divide.

It isn't backed up by evidence

The government has argued that public sector pay stops the private sector growing. In fact, there's no evidence to support this. There is an average of five people chasing every job vacancy, and up to 30 unemployed people per vacancy in some areas. It's the lack of demand in the economy, not the wages of nurses and teachers that is causing the problem.

It isn't what the private sector does

Most big private sector employers recognise that a national system is the fairest and most efficient way to set pay. In fact, companies like Waterstones, Greggs, Marks and Spencer, BT and Halfords all take the same sort of approach as the public sector: a national pay system with limited additions for London and the south east of England.

It's unpopular

According to a recent opinion poll only 28% of voters believe the idea of extending pay freezes for public sector workers outside of the south east and London would be fair. As few as 17% believe that real term pay cuts for public sector workers would help low pay regional economies. It's time that coalition MPs listened to their constituents, heard their concerns and put a stop to these damaging and divisive plans.

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