Socialist Worker

Health workers

Issue No. 1908

THE AMICUS union health section conference discussed the government’s Agenda for Change proposal on Monday of this week. This was the key debate at the conference.

All health workers will ballot on the scheme in


Gill George, a member of the Amicus national executive, told Socialist Worker, “The leadership withdrew the motion that supported Agenda for Change.

“The leadership are not confident enough to be pro Agenda for Change.

“Instead they supported a motion that said there was not enough information about Agenda for Change to make a final decision yet. This was passed.

“The motion that called for a no vote was not discussed. The chair of the conference ruled that it would automatically fall if the previous motion was passed.

“Between one quarter and one third of delegates were furious about the way the debate was conducted. Although the debate was closed down early there was a lot of anger shown.

“Agenda for Change means pay cuts and performance related pay for our members. There was a level of frustration from a significant minority of members at the conference that the union leadership isn’t listening.

“But there is a big gap between the majority of the delegates and the mood of members, who are increasingly hopping mad about Agenda for Change.”

AMBULANCE WORKERS in the north east of England are considering their next moves in a dispute over unpaid meal breaks. The dispute has implications for Agenda for Change.

The ambulance service is an Early Implementer site, which is testing Agenda for Change.

The workers, who are available to answer emergency calls during their meal breaks, want to make sure they continue to be paid for this time. Management have not come up with an acceptable deal.

Management rejected the Unison union’s offer of 22-minute paid meal breaks, instead of the 30 minutes taken at the moment. Last week staff voted by 80 percent to 20 percent to continue the dispute.

Unison branch secretary Ray McDermott told Socialist Worker, “We are still in talks but, if there is no breakthrough, we are seriously considering an escalation of the action.”

nFor more on Agenda for Change see page 13.

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Sat 3 Jul 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1908
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