Unison, the largest union in the NHS, has agreed to negotiate with employers over attacks to the national agreement on terms and conditions.
The agreement is known as Agenda for Change (AfC).
Unison says it hopes that conceding changes nationally will be an “alternative to increased local attacks on terms and conditions”.
But if Unison agrees to any of the proposals it will mean wage cuts and establishing the principle that wages and conditions can be set locally.
NHS bosses want to get rid of annual wage increments and have wage progression decided in each trust.
This means management can cut wages if appraisal conditions have not been met.
They also want to deduct unsocial hours payments from sick pay.
Unsocial hours allowances can make up to a third of shift workers’ wages.
One Unison steward told Socialist Worker that, “if these changes are accepted it will get rid of national terms and conditions.
“It also legitimises the wholesale downgrading of jobs throughout the country.”
Bosses have made no written commitment to continue with Agenda for Change. They could come back with more attacks.
The Unite union says it opposes the attacks but it has yet to take any action.
Unison plans to consult its members on the plans. Health workers should demand a ballot—and vote for strikes to defend terms and conditions.