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Strike Ballot In England And N Ireland NHS Dispute

Monday, September 1, 2014

Strike Ballot For GMB Members In NHS In England And Northern Ireland With Action In October If Members Vote For Action In Pay Dispute

Prime Minister is to blame for this dispute in refusing to honour the independent pay review body's recommendations and living standards for NHS staff are down by over 10% says GMB

GMB, the union for staff in the NHS, is to ballot 22,500 members employed in the NHS in England and Northern Ireland for strike action and action short of a strike in a dispute over pay. The ballot opens on Wednesday 10th September and closes on Wednesday 1st October. The plan is for action to commence on 13th October if the members vote for action.

GMB has 30,000 members in the NHS across the UK and is the main union in the ambulance service. Members in Wales may be balloted later in this dispute. Members in Scotland are not covered by this ballot.

GMB members rejected a 1% unconsolidated offer for 2014 for those who get it and a further 1% unconsolidated offer in 2015 for those who get it. In a consultation the overwhelming majority rejected the offer over two years and sought authority for an official ballot for industrial action to secure a better offer. See notes to editors for copies of GMB press releases on the offer.

Rehana Azam, GMB National Officer, said “The Prime Minister is to blame for this dispute with NHS workers.

The Prime Minister is refusing to honour the independent pay review body's recommendations for a pay rise for all staff. Instead his government is imposing divisive and unacceptable proposals in breach of our long standing agreements.

Pay in the NHS has not kept in line with inflation and living standards are down by over 10% since the Prime Minister came to power.

GMB NHS members want an end to cuts in their living standards and are prepared to vote to take action to get a decent pay rise.”

End

Contact: Brian Strutton 07860 606137 or Rehana Azam, GMB National Officer 07841 181656 or GMB Press Office on 07921 289880 or 020 7391 6755/56.

Notes to editors

Copy of GMB press releases on the pay dispute:

GMB TO BALLOT 30,000 MEMBERS OVER 2014/15 PAY OFFER FOR NHS STAFF

The trail of broken promises and deceit leads directly to the Prime Minister refusing to honour the independent pay review body's recommendations says GMB

GMB is preparing to ballot 30,000 members employed in the NHS for strike action and action short of a strike over the pay offer for 2014 and 2015 to NHS staff.

GMB is the main union in the ambulance service. The ballot will take place in August/September with any action commencing in October.

GMB members have been consulted on a 1% unconsolidated offer for 2014 for those who get it and a further 1% unconsolidated offer in 2015 for those who get it.  See notes to editors for copies of GMB press releases on the offer. The overwhelming majority rejected the offer and wanted to move to an official ballot for industrial action to secure a better offer.

Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said "GMB is preparing to ballot 30,000 members in the NHS for both strike action and action short of strike.

Other NHS trade unions and professional bodies are also proceeding with ballots.

The trail of broken promises and deceit leads directly to the door of number 10. The Prime Minister is to blame for this - he has refused to honour the independent pay review body's recommendations and has instead imposed divisive and unacceptable proposals in breach of our long standing agreements. That's why GMB members have demanded an industrial action ballot."

End

Contact: Brian Strutton 07860 606137 or Rehana Azam, GMB National Officer 07841 181656 or GMB Press Office on 07921 289880 or 020 7391 6755/56.

Notes to editors

GMB press releases of 13 March on the 2014 and 2015 pay offer

1 GMB MEMBERS OUTRAGED WITH GOVERNMENT ISOLATING NHS WORKERS ON PAY

Government are attacking not only living standards but also the agreed way pay is set in the NHS which makes a ballot for industrial action all the more likely says GMB

GMB, the union for NHS staff, issued a further statement on NHS pay having studied the paperwork and Ministerial Statement. See notes to editors for written Ministerial Statement and copy of GMB earlier press release.

Rehana Azam GMB National Officer said “GMB now studied the paperwork. It emerges that Government is not accepting the pay review body recommendations for 2014 but they are also seeking to dictate pay for two years. They have by suspended the NHS pay review body for 2015.

The 1% for 2014, for those who get it, is not consolidated. Next year they are offering another 1% on top of this year’s 1% again not consolidated to those who get it.

The written material makes clear that Government are blackmailing NHS workers to suspend progression payments in return for consolidation of this 2%.

GMB members will be outraged with Government isolating NHS workers like this. They are attacking not only living standards but also the agreed way pay is set in the NHS. This makes a ballot for industrial action all the more likely.”

2 Written Ministerial Statement DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH

NHS Pay Review Body and Doctors and Dentists Pay Review Body Thursday 13 March 2014

The Secretary of State for Health (Jeremy Hunt): I am responding on behalf of my Rt hon Friend the Prime Minister to the 28th Report of the NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB) and to the 42nd  Report of the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB). The reports have been laid before Parliament today (Cm 8831 and Cm 8832). Copies of the reports are available to hon Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office.

NHS PAY REVIEW BODY

We thank the NHS Pay Review Body for its 28th report and note its recommendations and observations.

We are clear that in the wake of the public inquiry into Mid Staffordshire  NHS Foundation Trust, our first priority must be to ensure that the NHS can afford to employ the right number of frontline staff needed to ensure the safe, effective and compassionate care that patients have a right to expect.

The NHSPRB’s recommendations for a 1% consolidated rise for all staff, on top of automatic increments, are unaffordable and would risk the quality of patient care.  Without a pay rise, incremental pay increases already commit nearly £1billion every year for all NHS employees and add 2% each year to the NHS pay bill for Agenda for Change staff. The PRB proposals suggest a pay rise that would risk reductions in front line staff that could lead to unsafe patient care.  It is not possible to maintain appropriate numbers of front line staff, give a general pay rise of 1% and pay for incremental progression.
 

The Government is therefore adopting an approach by which all staff will receive at least an additional 1% of their basic pay next year. All staff who are not eligible to receive incremental pay will be given a 1% non-consolidated payment in 2014/15. Other staff will receive an increase of at least 1% through incremental progression.

It is our intention that in 2015/16 the same approach will apply and staff who are not eligible to receive incremental pay will receive a non-consolidated payment of 2% of pay, whilst other staff receive incremental progression. As this will be a two year pay award, the NHSPRB will not be asked to make recommendations on a pay award for Agenda for Change staff in the 2015 pay round.

NHS staff are dedicated and hard working and the Government would prefer all NHS staff to receive a consolidated 1% increase. This would be affordable if incremental progression was frozen for one year in 2015/16.  If the NHS Trade Unions were prepared to agree to this then the Government would be prepared to reconsider the position and make a consolidated award as other public sector workforces are receiving.

The Government agrees with NHSPRB’s observation that a thorough review is required of the Agenda for Change pay structure, including the operation of incremental scales, so that it might better support the challenges facing the NHS in terms of both patient care and affordability.

We note its offer to look into this, given an appropriate remit and evidence and we will consider whether to ask them to look at contract reform issues in next year’s report.

3 GMB press release 13th March 2014

GMB BALLOT TO CONSULT MEMBERS OVER INSULTING PAY OFFER FOR NHS STAFF

How will blocking this meagre rise help living standards to recover to pre- recession levels with UK output per head is still 5.7% below level in 2007 and workers need a decent pay rise says GMB


GMB, the union for NHS workers, responded to the publication of the Government response to the NHS Pay Review Body recommendations on the pay of NHS workers. See www.gmb.org.uk  for notes to editors for copy of statement by HM Treasury.

Rehana Azam, GMB National Officer for the NHS, said, "GMB members across the country will take the blocking of a full 1% pay rise as a personal insult.

GMB members will not stand aside whilst the Government makes such direct attacks on their pay and conditions. GMB will immediately begin making arrangements to consult members who members will be asked to vote in a consultative ballot to decide the next steps in this dispute.

How will blocking this meagre rise help living standards to recover to pre- recession levels. UK GDP output per head was £23,894 in 2013. This is 5.7% below the £25,326 per head in 2007. This fall in output per head is the root cause of the 13.8% drop in the real value of average earnings in the UK between April 2008 and November 2013. Workers in the NHS need a decent pay rise.

NHS England continues to produce underspends so billions are paid back to the Treasury for deficit reduction. Any underspend should go back into the NHS to improve services so GMB don't accept the arguments a full 1% pay rise is unaffordable.

This attack on pay comes in the same week the Government pushed through the controversial Clause 119, an amendment to the Care Bill which will allow the Government to serve notice on any hospital in England to have them asset stripped within 40 days.

This new dispute is in addition to the suspended industrial action ballot in the Ambulance Service whilst discussions are on-going with employers over attempts to cut ambulance staff sick pay by up to 25%.”

Martin Jackson, GMB NHS Chair, said 'NHS workers up and down the country are doing their incredible best, against a backdrop of NHS cuts and reorganisations. We are facing an unprecedented increase in demand for NHS Services and this constant government meddling on pay and conditions is just a step too far. Many GMB members were counting on the paltry 1% to help subsidise the increase in cost of pension contributions which are to come in next month. Our cost of living has increased, we have had years of pay restraint and now we are told we are not even going to receive the 1% the Chancellor set out in the last budget. I have worked as a nurse for many years and GMB members up and down the country are telling me enough is enough'

Steve Rice GMB Ambulance Chair said 'We are seeing down grading of A&E depts, we are seeing Ambulance workers queuing to handover patients to hospitals. We are seeing unprecedented numbers of people going to A&E depts - the increase in demand is not the fault of NHS workers in the Ambulance Service. The increase in demand in the NHS is the Government fault and their sheer inability to stop meddling in the NHS. If they are not meddling, controlling Clinicians in what they can and can't do, they have been meddling with our hard fought terms and conditions. At a time when demand on the ambulance service workers and NHS is high and growing we have been giving much more for much less and now we are told the less we have endured is being devalued again and it's a step too far'”

Ends


 

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