The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has warned that angry private staff employed in the NHS could take industrial action over the big pay rises to be awarded to their public sector colleagues.
Agenda for Change - due to come into full effect tomorrow – is billed as the most sweeping pay reform since the NHS was founded in 1948. It will reward people for their skills, rather than job title.
The pay rises will apply to new workers of outsourced contracts, but existing contractors will not be covered. These are estimated to cover a third of all NHS ancillary work and are worth about £700m a year.
The CBI says this would create a two-tier system that the Government has been at pains to destroy. It says it fears significant industrial unrest unless the health department agrees to pay more on existing deals.
Health service union Unison has already promised "a major campaign for contracted-out staff".