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From The Socialist newspaper, 12 March 2008

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.

  • Steve Score adds: "At the DCH demo, the head of human resources was spotted hiding behind the bushes. As someone said: 'It sums the management up!'"
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    In The Socialist 12 March 2008:

    Demonstrate

    End the occupation

    Gaza - end the bloodshed!

    Iraq, Afghanistan: The bitter fruits of war and occupation

    School student strikes

    US & UK students in anti-war protest


    Workplace news and analysis

    Fight for a living wage!

    Coastguards strike

    Land Registry votes to reject pay offer

    Wales further education pay dispute: Vote 'yes' in strike ballot

    Shelter workers' strike success

    Prison officers reject pay offer

    March for pay justice


    Socialist Party NHS campaign

    Derby nurses fight PFI pay cuts

    Hospital trusts... who makes the decisions?

    Cuts continue despite financial surpluses


    Post Office closures

    Stroud - Save our post office!

    London - Fight the closures


    Socialist Party feature

    World's poor hit by rocketing food prices


    International socialist news

    New period of workers' militancy in Germany


    Socialist Party review

    Profit motive and the whispering wind


     

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