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Pay round up: Health workers demand poor pay deal is reopened

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Issue 2615
Many health worker activists argued to reject the Tories  and union leaders’ shoddy pay deal
Many health worker activists argued to reject the Tories and union leaders’ shoddy pay deal

NHS workers are demanding unions reopen a shoddy pay deal that was cobbled together by the Tories and trade union leaders.

It emerged last month that tens of thousands of health workers will be forced to wait up to eight months to see half of their 3 percent promised pay rise this year.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) was forced last week to agree to an independent review into how the deal was sold to members.

RCN chief executive Janet Davies said, “I can only apologise for how we interpreted it and how we suggested to you that a 3% rise would be backdated for everyone.”

Under the NHS Agenda for Change pay scales each pay band is divided into increments, which health workers progress up each year.

Those who have not reached the top of their pay bands will receive the pay rise in two stages—1.5 percent in August and 1.5 percent on their increment date.

If a worker’s increment date was 1 April, they will get the full amount. But if their increment date was in March, they will only get the August 1.5 percent this year.

The RCN leadership has claimed it wasn’t aware of those details, but some reps have said they received an email with a briefing paper explaining it on 20 July.

The leadership’s apology came after a petition demanding an emergency general meeting.

The Unison union leadership tried to deny that it hadn’t told members about the details of the deal. But the RCN members’ initiative shows that it’s possible to put pressure on union leaders.

Activists in other unions should use it to agitate for action. And Unison and the other health unions should reopen the pay deal and join the GMB in balloting their members for strikes.

Firefighters’ union leaders threaten strikes over pay

Firefighters are to be consulted on a 2 percent pay offer from bosses—as leaders of their FBU union threaten industrial action.

FBU union leaders have said the proposed pay increase isn’t high enough following eight years of below-inflation pay rises—effectively pay cuts.

Fire bosses have sought to offer pay increases in exchange for firefighters agreeing to take on extra duties outside their normal roles.

FBU members rejected a two percent pay offer last year that was conditional on accepting the extra duties.

The FBU’s executive council said the latest pay offer “Fails to take account of the fact that FBU members have already significantly expanded the work and activity undertaken in the service, in most cases without any appropriate payment.”

It recommends that the proposed increase should be made and that negotiations continue.

But it also says firefighters should be “consulted on the need to prepare for industrial action.

“This includes the need to prepare for strike action as well as developing plans for a withdrawal from all non-agreed or non-contractual work currently undertaken within the service,” it said.

FBU members should fight for a pay deal that makes up for years of pay cuts and below-inflation increases.

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