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The News Line: News Nurses furious over pay cut!
Nurses on the TUC march last November against the attack by the Tory coalition on public sector workers’ pensions
NURSES in South West England are furious over leaked plans to sack and re-hire them on lower pay and worse conditions. The government is considering introducing regional pay for public sector workers and the South West could be among the first areas to have it introduced.

A leaked document from a consortium of local NHS trusts says unions would oppose trusts’ plans, so staff might have to be dismissed then re-hired It reveals that the introduction of regional pay could see thousands of NHS staff in South West England working longer hours for less pay.

The Royal College of Nursing has reacted angrily, describing the consortium as a ‘cartel’ and has pledged to fight the proposals.

RCN official Sarah Zanoni said her members wanted money to be focused on patient care, but staff should also be appropriately rewarded. She said: ‘We’d rather the trusts worked in partnership with us, the trade unions, to try to work out how we can do things more efficiently. They don’t need to go to a cartel to start reducing people’s pay and their terms and conditions.’

The document, by the newly-formed South West Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium, is marked ‘For discussion only, not to be forwarded’.

The consortium aims to bring forward proposals on regional pay in the NHS in the South West by October.
Its main objective is to reduce the pay bill from 68 per cent to 60 per cent of running costs, which the document suggests could be achieved by cutting salaries, allowances, leave entitlement, sickness benefits and making staff work longer hours.

The document notes strong opposition to such changes from trade unions and raises the possibility that ‘trusts would be obliged to dismiss and re-engage staff’.

The RCN says NHS staff do the same work, whether they are in Truro, Torquay or Tynecastle, and so deserve the same rates of pay.

A Consortium statement said: ‘The pay bill forms the largest portion of our annual expenditure and as such, it is right that we look at how we are spending that money.’
 
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