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  • 1. Morag  |  June 12, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    TITLE: Royal College of Midwives plans industrial action
    The traditionally conservative Royal College of Midwives (RCM) is planning industrial action for the first time since it was founded 125 years ago.
    RCM members are outraged that midwives’ pay is now increasing at a rate slower than inflation – in real terms, midwives are getting their pay cut. Delegates at the RCM’s recent conference voted unanimously for a ballot on industrial action, though the College insists it will stop short of a strike.
    RCM General Secretary Karlene Davis commented “There is a groundswell of discontent amongst midwives… it is one that the Government ignores at its peril. Morale amongst midwives is plummeting and the pressure on them is increasing”. She added that midwives felt “real anger” at the pay deal.
    Meanwhile, the Royal College of Nursing will also ballot its members on industrial action for the first time in history.

  • 2. slintott  |  June 18, 2007 at 12:02 pm


    RCN definition of industrial action falls short of what most of us would consider as industrial action (e.g. A form of industrial action that may be considered is for nurses to stop working unpaid overtime, a move that would have serious financial consequences for the NHS. Over 16,000 nurses in Wales work an average of more than six hours unpaid overtime a week. Losing this unpaid overtime cost the NHS in Wales around £1.2 million a week.

    Even more worrying is their welcoming of the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Executive willingness to pay the 2.5% in full This is not in line with Unison’s position of a substantial rise. Inflation is presently 4.3% by the more useful measure of inflation RPI (Retail Price Index)(see work below for a longer explanation).

    I normally subscribed to the cock up theory of history rather than the alternative conspiracy
    theories but this time I believe our Union leaders will go to Gordon and say look our members our very cross calling for industrial action and also Scotland and Wales are awarding the award in full how about it. I think Gordon will say okay and this pay cut will be presented by our union leaders as if we have won a victory instead of accepting a pay cut
    Will we told that as we support the PRB that we have to accept its recommendation

    The independent Nurses and other Health Professionals Pay Review Body recommended a pay rise for those workers of 2.5% from the 1st April 2007.
    On the 1st of March the Government announced that this pay rise would be staged – 1.5% from the 1st April and a further 1% on the 1st November 2007.
    The effect of this staging reduces the increase to just 1.9% .
    NHS staff not covered by the above Pay Review Body have also been offered an identical staged increase.
    The table below shows what a 2.5% rise equals and the amount clawed back by the Government’s 1.9% offer i.e. someone on the top of band 3 has been mugged for £101.
    However, the table also shows that against the current annual rise in the Retail Price Index of 4.2% (released 13th February 2007)* the 1.9% offer really means a pay cut of £386 per year for that same person.
    (Unlike the Government we have used the RPI which includes housing costs because we don’t all live in number 10 or 11)
    A4C current Increase = clawed RPI Equals Pay Cut
    band top of band 2.5% 1.9% back 4.2% per year per wk
    1 £12,583 £315 £239 £75 £528 £289 £5.57
    2 £15,107 £378 £287 £91 £634 £347 £6.68
    3 £16,799 £420 £319 £101 £706 £386 £7.43
    4 £19,730 £493 £375 £118 £829 £454 £8.73
    5 £24,803 £620 £471 £149 £1,042 £570 £10.97
    6 £31,004 £775 £589 £186 £1,302 £713 £13.71
    7 £36,416 £910 £692 £218 £1,529 £838 £16.11

    * 4.2% was the January RPI figure (the time of our pay claim) which was the lowest RPI this year
    4.6% in February 4.8% in March 4.5% in April 4.3% in May
    Adapted from Gwent Healthcare Unison Branch Website

  • 3. germs90  |  June 18, 2007 at 7:41 pm

    I’d like us to discuss improving health workers’ pay in great detail on this site, or the email list. For the time being here are 2 of my favourite quotes which are keeping me currently nice + pissed off.

    “NHS pay is a disgrace,” said Mike Jackson, Unison’s senior national negotiator. “The 2.5 percent we have been offered is well below any measure of inflation.
    “And the architect of this plan is the future prime minister, Gordon Brown.
    “We expect a similar pay offer to be made to non-clinical NHS staff. They represent about a third of the workforce in the health service, and are some of the lowest paid.
    “Employers now have a choice. Either they come back with a better offer, or we are going to the members to ask them if they are prepared to take industrial action.”
    (Socialist Worker, 28th April 2007)

    Mr Jackson called on ministers to use the surplus to pay nurses and other health workers this year’s pay award in full, rather than stage the increase and risk the threat of major industrial action.
    “It would cost £200m and would be a small step towards raising staff morale and recognising the enormous efforts that they have made in delivering high quality patient care despite the squeeze on NHS finances.”
    (Public statement from Mike Jackson, 6th June 2007)

    What happened to the ‘better offer’? Mike Jackson is still yet to reply to an email I sent him a couple of weeks ago (+ have re-sent since) on behalf of our branch reminding him that UNISON national health conference voted to reject 2.5%. It is a paycut, not a victory. That is the only line that the unions should be using publicly. I for one am convinced by the conspiracy theory!

    Take Gwent UNISON’s paycut calculator table + *get agitating*

  • 4. erlyle  |  June 19, 2007 at 4:53 pm

    Dear British Healthworkers,
    I hope you will make an effort to see “Sicko” — a new film about the problems of the U.S. health system. Send your reactions to its Director.
    Thanks, from a Yankee ex-healthworker

  • 5. fleabite  |  June 20, 2007 at 1:15 am

    hi erlyle. would you like to write review of the film for us?


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