Health unions condemn regional “Pay Cartel”

Trades unions and professional associations that represent staff working in

NHS health organisations across the South West have joined together to

condemn plans by NHS Trusts to cut pay and terms and conditions for staff in

the region.

The Boards of sixteen South West NHS Trusts have already committed to join

the “South West Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium”, effectively a pay

cartel, committing large sums of money – including £10,000 each to join - to a

proposal that intends to cut pay and local terms and conditions by moving

away from the nationally agreed framework.

The proposal, leaked to health care unions, outlines plans that include the

employment of a Director for the consortium and use of a management

company as well as a significant time commitment for key trust management


The unions believe these resources would be better utilised on working with

staff locally to identify viable strategies for making efficiencies without risking

quality patient care.

Dorothy Fogg, Chair of the Joint Unions Health Officers Forum for the South

West, said:

“This group of employers are planning to abandon nationally agreed pay and

conditions in the South West region. This is not an issue about public sector

pay; the knock on effects will have a devastating impact of the regional

economy, especially the private sector, at a time when the economy needs

strengthening not weakening.“

“Reducing pay and other terms will result in staff moving to those areas that

pay more. This will lead to already deprived areas being unable to recruit the

quality of staff needed to provide essential services to care for our most


“These employers are wrong to believe that cutting pay is the solution to

financial challenges. This scheme will divert money from patient care,

destabilise the workforce and damage the local economy.”

In Bristol today more than forty staff side representatives, representing almost

all NHS employers and social enterprises in the South West, attended a

meeting arranged to discuss this issue. They will return to their Trusts to

demand answers to a range of questions about the pay cartel. Unions across

the region are contacting all NHS employers asking for more information on

their plans to engage with the pay cartel and to formally request that they

return to working in partnership with trade unions and professional

organisations to find solutions to financial challenges.


Notes to Editors

For further information, interviews or illustrations please contact joint union

communications lead Tracey Roberts on 01392 357012 or 07841 497692,

* IDS research re local pay


Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is the voice of nursing across the UK and is the largest professional union of nursing staff in the world. The RCN promotes the interests of nurses and patients on a wide range of issues and helps shape healthcare policy by working closely with the UK Government and other national and international institutions, trade unions, professional bodies and voluntary organisations.

UNISON is the UK’s largest dedicated public sector union with 1.3 million members working in the public services. It is the union for NHS staff, local government staff, police support staff, education staff, and those working for the utilities and transport. It negotiates their pay and conditions and champions the public services that its members deliver.

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anniversary in 2006. It is also a trade union. For more information visit the RCM website at

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