Union says national agreements promote equality and fairness

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Unite is urging the government to scrap plans for regional pay, as new research echoes the union’s concerns that it will lead to postcode pay in the public sector.

Plans to break up national pay agreements for local pay deals will be a bureaucratic nightmare and introduce postcode pay – where pay is determined not on the job you do, but where you live, warns Unite.

The union warns that the changes will lead to public sector workers being paid different rates of pay, despite performing the same job, depending on where they live in the country. With workers in poorer areas getting less, local economies will suffer and as pay is driven down a new north-south divide will emerge.

Responding to the TUC survey published on Tuesday, Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “Unite has said all along that breaking up national agreements for regional pay systems is a backwards step that will make it harder for hospitals and schools in more deprived areas and in far flung parts of the country to recruit and retain staff.

“We believe that national pay agreements promote equality and fairness – whether you are a nurse in Cornwall or a nurse in Doncaster, if you do the same job you should get the same pay.

“Moves to introduce postcode pay have nothing to do with improving services or patient care – it is about driving down pay and priming public sector workforces for privatisation – plain and simple.

“Most big private sector employers, such as BT and Marks & Spencer, recognise that a national system is the fairest and most efficient way to set pay. We will not tolerate the government destroying national pay agreements, whether in the NHS or local government.”

Recent moves by 20 Trusts in the South West to tear up the National Agenda for Change– the NHS grading and pay framework for all NHS – for locally negotiated pay deals illustrates the lengths bosses will go to cut workers’ pay and terms and conditions.


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