NHS industrial action suspended

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27 / 1 / 2015 5.14pm

Following their recent talks, the Government and the Agenda for Change trade unions have just announced that the industrial action planned for Thursday 29 January has been called off. 

No action will now be taken by any members of the unions involved in the pay dispute with the Government.

We understand that the Agenda for Change unions have suspended this week’s planned action while they consult with their members on the Government’s new pay offer. Any agreement on pay for 2015/16 will not apply to doctors and dentists. 

Details of the proposed agreement which cover Agenda for Change staff in England include:

  • Abolition of the bottom point of AfC and increasing pay point 2 to £15,100. This means an increase of 5.6% for staff on point 1 and 3.1% for staff on pay point 2.
  • 1% consolidated pay rise for all staff up to point 42 from April 2015.
  • A further consolidated pay rise of an additional £200 for staff on pay points 3-8. This means staff on these pay points will receive an increase between 2.1% and 2.3%
  • An increment freeze in 2015/16 for staff on pay point 34 and above for one year only.
  • Urgent talks to take place with a view to the proposed redundancy changes being implemented from 1 April 2015, including a floor for calculation of redundancy payments of £23,000 and a ceiling for calculation of £80,000 with an end to employer top up for early retirement on grounds of redundancy.

Ambulance service proposal

An additional annex to the proposed agreement outlines plans for the ambulance employers to commit to working in partnership with the ambulance trade unions (UNISON GMB and UNITE) to seek to resolve the following issues.
  • In relation to Sickness / Unsocial hours allowance payment; to curtail discussions for the move away from Annex E unsocial hours enhancements. To curtail discussions around a move towards section 2a unsocial hours under A4C. To suspend immediately any further work to test, in the High Court, the national agreement on sick pay which relates to the NHS Employers and the Ambulance Service Employers view that the original agreements included the Ambulance Service Sector. This issue would instead be remitted to the wider talks on further AfC reform.
  • Ambulance Employers to introduce a scheme whereby they will match the value of additional pension contributions made by front line ambulance staff   to enable them to take their 2015 pension unreduced at 65. For instance if the cost of this was 4%, the employer would pay 2%.
  • Ambulance employers to work with the Ambulance Unions to  address the current recruitment and retention issues for 999 operational road staff, including considering changes to use of job profiles and bandings or through application of  National Recruitment and Retention Premia to appropriate job roles.
  • Ambulance Employers will take forward with Ambulance Unions work a specific work stream under the NHS Staff Council Working Longer Review identifying the specific challenges for front line ambulance staff of the increase in pension age and how they can be addressed.
Full details are set out in the Health Secretary’s letter to the Staff Council.

Next steps

The health trade unions will now consult with their members on the agreement and we will continue to keep you informed as this situation develops. 

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