GMB urges united stance against NHS staff pay system

The
GMB has voted against a accepting a three-tier pay system for NHS staff.

The
GMB Central Executive Council rejected the latest draft of the Single Matrix
Document from the Department of Health. The draft covers workers in the 45 PFI
hospitals (private finance initiative) which employ a total of 35,000
non-clinical staff.

Under
the draft about 10,000 people in five trades – cleaning, catering, portering,
laundry and security – would be seconded to private companies running the 45
hospitals.

NHS
pay and conditions would be maintained for the workers and new starters in
these trades.

However,
the GMB said the document specifically excludes about 5,000 people in
occupations including managers, supervisors and chargehands, grounds, estate
and equipment maintenance, receptionists, switchboards operators, drivers,
storekeepers and other ancillary trades.

The
position of the other 20,000, mainly clerical, secretarial and administrative
staff is uncertain.

Those
excluded will be transferred under Tupe to the private-sector employers. They
will lose access to their NHS pension scheme and only be offered a broadly
comparable scheme.

New
starters in the excluded jobs can be offered any pay and conditions that the
PFI contractor feels inclined to offer. This will also apply to temporary
staff, such as those with less than one year’s service in the five trades
covered by the agreement.

Paul
Kenny, GMB regional secretary, said, "The GMB is against a two-tier
workforce. But if implemented, this agreement is even worse. It would create a
three-tier workforce. We have instructed our negotiators not to accept any
scheme which does not protect the pay and conditions of all loyal NHS staff.

"We
have the example of 34 of our driver members in Newham being transferred to the
private sector and the NHS management admitting they lost £2,000 a year, their
NHS pension and their accumulated employment rights.

"We
call on all the trade unions in the health service to stand firm against the
two- or three-tier workforce. It will be impossible for the Government to do
the deal without the support of the GMB."

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