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The News Line: News Unite ‘reassures members’ over NHS pay claim!
Unite members with their banner on the ‘Save Our NHS’ march against privatisation
UNITE national officer for health Sarah Carpenter said yesterday: ‘A story appeared in The Guardian today (Friday 9 March) about an impending pay deal for NHS staff. ‘Unite, along with fellow NHS unions, has been closely involved with these pay talks since December and we are very close to a final position which we will be putting to our members for their consideration.

‘However, the details in the article are incomplete, unconfirmed and inaccurate in part. The consequences of such an article could either scupper the chances of health workers getting a decent deal after years of pay austerity or to prevent the NHS trade unions being able to present the final position to the media on behalf of our members. ‘Either way, spreading incomplete information is unhelpful at this delicate juncture in the negotiations.

‘Unite will be working really hard to ensure that the details of the proposed package are finalised and – more importantly – keep the pressure on the government to confirm the funding so that we can finish the talks and ensure that the final details go to our membership for their views. ‘I want to reassure our members that they will not be asked to make any final decisions until they have the full package about how any proposals will affect them.’

• Unite also accused Anglian Water of seeking to provoke strike action after the water company refused to enter talks at the conciliation service ACAS over the closure of its final salary pension scheme. Over 5,000 workers at Anglian Water are affected by the pension scheme’s proposed closure, which could see some losing up to £100,000 should the new planned defined contribution pension scheme fail to deliver. A further 3,700 workers are affected by proposed changes to a separate existing defined contribution scheme. Unite, along with the GMB and Unison, held a last-ditch meeting with Anglian Water chief executive Peter Simpson yesterday where the water boss refused a request to meet at ACAS to resolve the dispute.

Meanwhile, Simpson received a total pay and pension package of £1.5 million in 2016/17 and £2.3 million for the year before. This year, Anglian Water’s four top executive directors are on target to be remunerated to the tune of £3.7 million. Commenting, Unite regional officer Adam Oakes said: ‘Anglian Water bosses are pocketing millions in pay while hiking up bills for customers and attacking the hard-earned pensions of workers.

‘Rather than entering into talks, management is trying to railroad through pension changes which could see some lose up to £100,000 in retirement income. The offer of a derisory £600 in compensation, at a time when Anglian Water is paying out millions to shareholders, is an insult to a loyal workforce. ‘Pensions are workers’ deferred wages enabling them to provide for themselves and their loved ones in retirement. We would urge bosses at Anglian Water to stop seeking confrontation and start listening to its workforce by engaging in talks with the trade unions at ACAS.’
 
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