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2008/09 pay award  

 
NHS Employers along with the Department of Health,  UNISON and the RCN have developed proposals for a multi-year agreement for all NHS Agenda for Change staff for the three years 2008/9, 2009/10 and 2010/11.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) and UNISON, alongside the Society of Radiographers and Managers in Partnership, have accepted the proposals. NHS Employers said it was encouraging that these unions have endorsed the agreement reached between union negotiators and NHS Employers. We believe this deal will provide stability which will benefit the NHS, its staff and patients. We will be talking to the unions and DH about issuing a pay circular in order to see the arrangements implemented as soon as is practical.

This section provides further information on the pay proposals to help managers respond to questions that might be raised by members of staff.

  • Summary of the Proposed Agreement
  • Continued Role for the NHS Pay Review Body
  • Other Elements of the Package
  • Questions and Answers
  • Supporting documents
  • Summary of the Proposed Agreement

    • The proposed multi-year agreement is worth up to 7.99 per cent over the three years
    • All staff would get a minimum 7.6 per cent over the three year period
    • There is additional pay for those staff on Band 1, Band 5 and the bottom points of Band 6, who will get up to 7.99 per cent
    • The removal of the bottom point of Band 1 in 2009 would increase the NHS minimum wage to £6.77 per hour, an increase of 5.8 per cent

    The proposals in detail are:

    Year one (2008/9)

    • The NHS Pay Review Body's recommendation for 2.75 per cent uplift on all pay points and allowances in 2008/09 will be honoured in full
    • Total value 2.75 per cent

    Year two (2009/10)

    • 2.4 per cent increase on all pay points and allowances
    • Removal of the lowest point in band 1
    • Additional increases on most points in band 5 (including top point) and on the first three points in band 6
    • Total value of 2.54 per cent

    Year three (20010/11)

    • 2.25 per cent increase in all pay points and allowances at point 14 and above
    • £420 for all pay points at point 13 and below
    • Removal of mid point of Band 5
    • Additional increases on most points in band 5 (including top point) and the first three in band 6
    • Total value 2.5 per cent

    The multi year package would also include some further additional increases to the points on Band 5 and 6 in 2011/12.

    Continued Role for the NHS Pay Review Body

    It is proposed that the NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB) will continue to gather evidence throughout the period of any multi- year settlement. In the event that the NHSPRB receive and identify new evidence of a significant and material change in recruitment and retention and wider economic and labour market conditions, they may request a remit from the Government to review the increases set out in this agreement for years two and three.

    Other Elements of the Package

    New Trades Union Facilities Agreement

    The package includes a new revised national framework promoting best practice in relation to trade union facilities, time off for representatives and partnership working. This would be included in the NHS Conditions of Service handbook

    Policy Statement on Work Life Balance

    The national parties have agreed to work in partnership to develop the principles that underpinned the Improving Working Lives initiative and improve work life balance for staff working in the NHS.

    Commitment to Future National Discussions

    If the proposals are accepted the national parties have also agreed to hold further talks within the three year period on:

    • proposals to reduce the number of incremental pay points in some of the longer pay bands (starting with bands 6 and 7) that are affordable within the context of future pay awards
    • the trade unions claim for a reduction in the hours of the working weeks in the context of future talks between the parties on productivity improvements within the NHS

    There is also a commitment to working in partnership to continue to increase the number of apprenticeships in the NHS in line with Government policy.

    Questions and Answers

    What is the status of the proposed agreement?

    This is not a pay offer but a “proposed agreement” which is being consulted upon by trade unions. There can be no final deal and publication of a pay circular until these consultations have been completed. This is likely to be in early June.

    Who does this cover?

    The arrangement would apply to all staff employed by the NHS on terms and conditions agreed under the ‘Agenda for Change’ arrangements set out in the NHS Staff Council Handbook.

    What is the cost of the three year proposal?

    The proposed multi-year agreement is worth 7.99 per cent to the overall pay bill over the three years.

    Why have multi-year discussions?

    Our evidence to the pay review body reported that strong employer support for a longer term pay deal. The negotiating agenda for multi year talks was agreed as part of the 2007/2008 pay settlement.  This committed the national parties to entering into discussions on the potential for a multi-year pay deal to cover all or part of the next CSR period. In particular the parties were committed to “reviewing the Agenda for Change pay scales with reference to the number of incremental pay points, the opportunities for incremental progression and the appropriate structure at the bottom of the pay scales”.

    Since the autumn of 2007, employer representatives had been in ongoing discussions with trade unions and the health departments on the scope for a possible settlement. Employers’ representatives in the talks made clear that any package would have to be affordable and be consistent with NHS business objectives of improving patient satisfaction with improving staff satisfaction and commitment.

    Why do NHS Employers support the proposed multi year deal?

    We believe that longer term pay deals help create a climate of stability for both employers and staff which will help employers with service and financial planning and will remove the element of doubt from staff about the level of forthcoming pay awards

    An agreement would provide the NHS with known and affordable arrangements for pay during the period April 2008 to March 2011.

    We think the proposals are a good deal for staff -the highest on offer in the public sector this year and a good deal for employers.

    This would allow employers and staff organisations the space to continue working together in partnership to improve and modernise the NHS and patient care.

    What would happen if trade union members rejected the proposed deal?

    We hope that most trade unions’ members will support the deal and allow us to implement it as soon as is practical.

    There has been no discussion about a one year pay settlement. It is important to understand that the 2008/9 proposed increase of 2.75 per cent has been made only as part of a three year settlement.

    If the deal was rejected the Government would have to re-consider its position.

    What role has the independent pay review body had in relation to this?

    NHS Employers and all the national parties gave their evidence to the NHS Pay Review Body for the 2008 pay round. The first year of the multi year pay proposal is based upon the pay review body’s recommendation of 2.75 per cent uplift. This was higher than employers had been expecting and will be challenging for some employers because it has not been taken into account in the Tariff for this year.

    The NHS PRB will also have a continuing role throughout the duration of any three year settlement – it will monitor changes in recruitment and retention and wider economic and labour market conditions.

    Why make changes to the structure of the pay bands 1 and 5?

    This is a balanced negotiated package with benefits for employers and staff. Employers have told us that reductions in the lengths of longer pay bands would be welcome if this was affordable. Recent legal developments have raised questions about the risks of having long incremental pay bands.

    The changes targeting the lowest paid workers, removing the bottom pay point in 2009 and a flat rate increase of £420 in 2010 was a priority for some trade unions but should help employers to be more competitive in the external labour market and improve motivation for this group of workers who are central to the Governments commitment to cleaner hospitals. The new NHS minimum wage will increase to £6.77 in 2009 –this is 18 per cent ahead of the statutory minimum wage.

    Proposals to reduce the length of Band 5 and increase the value of the top point in Band 5 has required that there is some re-spreading of the other pay points in band 5 and 6. Trade Unions were keen to make some changes that would be of particular benefit to experienced nurses and health professionals.

    Were the other trade unions not involved in the multi year pay discussions?

    Yes – all the trade unions represented on the NHS Staff Council Executive were involved in the series of talks that started last September until the final meeting in early April. Whilst UNISON and RCN actually finalised the “proposed agreement”, this was on the understanding that all the nationally recognised trades unions have the opportunity to consult with their members on it.

    Supporting documents

    The following documents support the proposed multi year agreement:

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