Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/524/3882
Derby nurses fight PFI pay cuts
Health workers rallied outside both the Derbyshire Royal Infirmary (DRI) and the Derby City Hospital (DCH) on 7 March in protest against the threatened cuts in nurses' pay.
Staff nurse and Unison member, Derbyshire Royal Infirmary.
Around 300 workers attended the rally outside the DRI, with a similar number outside the DCH. The message was made very clear. Health workers are not prepared to tolerate cuts in pay to bail out the trust so it can pay the mortgage on our new PFI hospital.
Don't get me wrong. It is fantastic to have a brand new flagship hospital going up in Derby. But unless I missed something, it was never intended that health workers paid for the privilege of working in it.
The trust were planning to downgrade a large number of health care assistants. But they have since taken this off the agenda in the face of growing united action.
The trust have also offered increased pay protection to Registered Nurses (RNs) as they try to reduce the number of band 6 nurses. The trust are blaming Agenda for Change (AfC) for this mess.
Apparently, when nurses moved onto the new pay bands, there should have been specific numbers of band 6 nurses for each ward. What actually happened was that nurses were banded on the work they did, the responsibilities they took, and the experience they had. So what AfC did was recognise the high level of skills, knowledge and responsibilities that existed amongst RNs in Derby and reward them accordingly.
This present situation is like a slap in the face to nursing staff in Derby who have worked so hard to achieve Foundation status. One nurse I spoke to said: "I don't know what we will do if I get downgraded. It's hard to manage with what I get paid at the moment."
The difference between the top of band 6 and the top of band 5 is £8,000. Protected pay for 2-3 years will soften the blow but this is a pay freeze. There are no incremental rises and no cost of living rises. That extra £30-£50 per month due to these rises is a lot to lose in the first year and the effect doubles in the second year, tripling in the third year.
The trust have set up various hotlines for staff to contact them with questions but, although the tone of the replies is friendly and supportive, there is no help forthcoming.
They may smile supportively whilst they take our money from our pockets, but they are still trying to make us pay.
In The Socialist 12 March 2008:
Workplace news and analysis
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Post Office closures
Socialist Party feature
International socialist news
Socialist Party review