On November 21st UNISON's Health Service Group Executive (HSGE) agreed to consult members on the proposed changes to the Agenda for Change (AfC) agreement. The HSGE is asking your opinion on the following questions:
1. Are you willing to accept the proposed changes to the Agenda for Change agreement rather than the likely alternatives of terms and conditions being set at a local level?
2. Would you be willing to take industrial action, inclusive of sustained strike action, to defend your terms and conditions locally?
3. Would you be willing to take industrial action short of strike action to defend your terms and conditions locally?
Your HSGE believes that accepting these proposals represents the best way to protect and maintain the national agreement through negotiations and is a better alternative to terms and conditions being set on a trust-by-trust basis. If these proposals are rejected it is likely that we will witness an increased number of NHS trusts seeking to “break away” from Agenda for Change which may mean having to take action to stop your employer implementing changes which are more drastic than those contained in these proposals.
In the South West we are already experiencing the threat of Trusts “breaking away” from Agenda for Change in form of the “South West NHS Pay Cartel”. At this point in time we have no assurances from the Trusts in the Cartel that they will withdraw from the Pay Cartel and adhere to national terms and conditions should these national proposals be accepted by our membership, despite our attempts to gain such assurances.
UNISON fought hard for Agenda for Change terms and conditions and as a result we cannot recommend a reduction to terms and conditions to our members. However, members also need to realise that in order to defend Agenda for Change members themselves will have to be prepared to take some form of industrial action – this could be a work to rule, or all out strike.
For more information on the proposals, how they would affect you and what UNISON thinks is the alternative, please follow this link: http://www.unison.org.uk/healthcare/a4c/consultation.asp
Briefly the national proposals are:
Management of sickness absence – the proposal is for pay during sickness absence to be paid at basic salary level with no unsocial hours payments or other allowances linked to working patterns or additional work commitments. This will effect all Agenda for Change staff with the exception of the lowest paid staff on spine points 1-8 (bands 1, 2 and some of band 3), and to those staff who are absent due to a work related injury or disease.
Incremental pay progression – the proposal is to link increments to performance – this means staff won’t receive an increment unless they have demonstrated the required knowledge, skills, competencies, and performance. For the most senior staff in bands 8C, 8D and 9 pay progression into the last 2 points in a band will become annually earned and once earned will depend on performance.
Flexibility on senior posts – the proposal is to extend the flexibility to apply alternative pay arrangements to posts with a job evaluation score over 720 (band 9), to posts with a job evaluation score over 630 – this now means that bands 8C and 8D will be included.
Accelerated pay progression for new entrants to Band 5 – the proposal is to remove this with effect from 1st April 2013.
Guidance on workforce re-profiling – there will be guidance setting out the principles to be followed will be included as a new annex to the NHS terms and conditions of service handbook.
Ongoing review of Agenda for Change – there will be an ongoing review of your terms and conditions.
You can view the full document outlining the proposals in more detail at: http://www.unison.org.uk/acrobat/A14979.pdf
Very soon you will receive a consultative ballot paper. Please make sure you respond. Your view is important – Please have your say in this consultation.