Union insists Pay Review Body should reward commitment of all NHS workers with commitment to equal pay for equal work

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There is a warning that the Pay Review Body (PRB) for health workers should not be used as a ‘Trojan Horse’ to introduce different regional pay rates in the NHS

Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, said equal work should be reflected in equal pay – and that chancellor George Osborne’s desire for regional pay rates is designed to further reduce public expenditure by stealth.

The PRB said: ”We report on the chancellor’s announcement on our remits during 2012 to consider how to make pay more market-facing in local areas for NHS AfC staff.”

Unite’s head of health, Rachael Maskell, said: “George Osborne’s announcement is about cutting public expenditure by stealth and not freeing up local or regional economies. This is a Trojan horse.

“Regional pay cuts will hit hard-pressed local communities.

“The reason that those covered by the Agenda of Change (AfC) national pay agreement are paid the same, whether they work in Penzance or Penrith, is that their commitment should be reflected in equal pay for equal work.

“If there are issues about the cost of living then this should be covered by regional allowances and recruitment and retention premia agreements, which recognise that some parts of the country are more expensive than others.

“We are also concerned that ministers seem quite happy to override the independence of the PRB to assess pay and conditions, whenever it suits them.

“The PRB is meant to be independent in these matters – so it should be allowed to do its job without continual ministerial interference.”

The PRB’s report released on Tuesday has accepted the second year of the government’s public sector pay freeze, with £250 for all staff earning  £21,000 or less.


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