Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/344/5739
UNISON health conference: Reject Agenda For Change
THE UNISON Health conference meets on 26-28 April in Glasgow. The main issue facing health workers is the Agenda for Change (AFC) pay/grading and restructuring package. Although this will be the backgroud to the conference, the final decision will be made at a special conference in October.
Brian Loader NHSLA, steward, personal capacity
AFC involves job evaluation, appraisal-linked pay and major variations to important conditions of service. Intended to replace the patchwork quilt of local/national and non-negotiated conditions of service in the NHS, it is linked to a series of poor percentage pay increases over a three-year period. But many NHS workers risk pay and grading cuts because of AFC.
UNISON's bureaucracy headed off a vote against AFC at last year's Health Service Group conference by delaying a decision on it whilst it was "piloted" via an "Early Implementers Group" (EIG). As most left activists oppose AFC, the EIG is comprised largely of relatively inactive right-wing branches, often dominated by regional officers.
UNISON Health Service Group Executive have the set the date for the 2nd Special AFC Conference to begin on 4 October. This will be followed by a national ballot on whether to extend AFC across the NHS and accept the remaining 3.25% pay increase in April 2005 as part of the derisory 10% pay deal over three years.
But information from the 12 Early Implementers show that low pay and over work won't change.
The Socialist Party believes that the NHS trade unions should organise a joint campaign for a one year pay increase of 6% or £1,200, for all NHS workers, as a step towards a legal minimum of £8 per hour or £320 per week.
For a 35-hour week, with no loss of pay.
No reduction in Sunday overtime and rest-day pay.
Rebuild the NHS, free at the point of use and under democratic control.
Take into public ownership the large pharmaceutical and medical supply companies, under democratic working-class control and management. Compensation to be paid only on the basis of proven need.
In The Socialist 24 April 2004:
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