AFTER YEARS of negotiation NHS staff have been offered a package-Agenda for Change-that promises to address past grievances about low pay, gradings and equal pay. But will it? New Labour is keen to see Agenda for Change accepted by NHS staff. Doctors recently rejected a parallel national offer.
Ministers are terrified about a similar rejection by the rest of the NHS. The offer is also tied to a 10 percent pay offer over three years. We were promised that details of the whole package would be available by now, but so far the key detail of what people will get has not come out.
Health Worker, the rank and file paper, is calling a conference to discuss and debate Agenda for Change. It will be the only forum in which activists from all unions will be able to come together. The conference will involve a number of sessions dedicated to the key questions that the new package raises.
MARK NEW, editor of Health Worker
THE CAMPAIGN against Agenda for Change is hotting up inside Amicus-MSF, which has 65,000 members in the health service. As proposed pay scales are announced, it's becoming clear that many Amicus members face pay cuts-in addition to savage attacks on our working conditions.
The London Region Management Committee of the union has voted to donate £1,000 to build the campaign, and to support health workers by organising a London- wide meeting for reps and members.
DOMESTIC, portering and catering staff at Homerton University Hospital in Hackney, east London, were to hold consultative ballots this week to begin moves towards a strike. The 200 workers are employed by private contractor ISS Mediclean. At present staff get as little as £4.45 an hour, have no London weighting, no overtime rate, no company sick pay and no pension.
The Unison union is demanding a pay rise of 10 percent with a minimum of £5.43 an hour and NHS conditions for all.
DIANA SWINGLER, Unison branch chair, Homerton University Hospital
CANDY UDWIN and Dave Carr have lost their appeal against expulsion from the Unison union. Last week a union disciplinary appeal panel upheld all charges against Candy Udwin, London Unison deputy convenor and branch secretary of University College London Hospitals (UCLH), and Dave Carr, UCLH branch chair.
Candy and Dave were expelled for their role in leading official strike action against the PFI scheme at UCLH. This was the first official strike action by workers threatened with PFI, and it won the best deal in Britain for privatised NHS staff.
Despite this, the union accused Candy and Dave of breaking union instructions and bringing the union into disrepute. This took place at the time when Unison's leadership was pursuing a vicious and politically motivated witch-hunt against the left in the union. Dave Prentis, Unison's general secretary, has promised that there will be no more disciplinary cases of this kind.
However, he has not been prepared to intervene to end the attacks against Dave and Candy. Officers of the London Region of Unison will argue for mitigation at a hearing in the first week of February.