No to regional pay as Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust leaves pay consortium
HEALTH workers in North Devon will not face pay cuts in the coming months, now the Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust has withdrawn from the South West Pay Consortium.
The trust announced on Monday it had decided to withdraw from the consortium, which had been examining the possibility of curtailing employees' holidays in exchange for greater job security, which would have brought pay cuts.
Northern Devon was one of 20 NHS trusts signed up to the consortium. Its decision to withdraw appears to have come only after the consortium finished its work and put forward proposals for savings that could be made by each of the trusts.
Although that may not be the case, as it is unclear whether the consortium will continue looking into ways of making savings.
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On its website it says it will "allow participating boards space".
Regardless of whether the consortium intends to continue looking at pay and conditions the Northern Devon trust has decided it no longer wants to play a part.
Trust chairman Roger French said: "In the limited time we've had to review the consortium's proposals, it's the board's very firm view we will not take forward any proposal which takes our staff out of nationally-agreed terms and conditions.
"We're delighted to have received commitments from all the trade union representatives to work with us on exploring those proposals that implement efficiencies within existing pay, terms and conditions.
"The challenge of securing high-quality, sustainable services at a time of extreme financial constraint in the NHS will require meaningful discussions with our staff.
"We want to be able to face this challenge knowing we have the support and goodwill of staff to work in partnership with us."
South Molton councillor David Worden, who was a vocal opponent of regional pay, is overjoyed by the news.
Mr Worden, who feared a move to introduce regional pay would see skilled health workers leave the area, said: "It's absolutely brilliant, I'm over the moon.
"I was really concerned that in a low wage area like North Devon regional pay would be the final nail in the coffin.
"We'd have struggled to recruit staff and we should be working to cut the pay gap between North Devon and the rest of the country, not widen it.
"To hear that won't happen is wonderful."
Joanne Kaye, regional secretary for trade union Unison, said: "This is great news for our members and shows the success of our campaign against regional pay.
"These are exceptionally difficult times, but with the threat of regional pay no longer hanging over members' heads, we look forward to working with the trust to face up to the challenges they are facing as a result of the Government's austerity policies."