20,000 NHS staff sign petition in protest over pay threat

 

NHS staff opposed to the introduction of regional pay and conditions have taken their campaign to the streets to garner further public support.

More than 20,000 people have signed a national petition against the plans which campaigners in the South West say will cut staff pay.

Union representatives say morale is plunging as a result of the so-called pay cartel: a group of NHS trusts in the South West which have formed a consortium to fix terms and conditions of the region's health workers.

The consortium has proposed cutting sick pay, reducing the working week and cutting unsocial hours pay by 10%, said Unison.

Dozens of NHS workers protested outside North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple to raise awareness of their fight against the "postcode pay deal".

Sarah Woodward, Unison area organiser, said: "There is a lot of support from members of the public for our cause which we will fight all the way. The pay cartel is bad news for low-paid areas like the South West and staff are understandably worried. There is no way we want a postcode pay deal.

"What today's protest has shown us is that the public, as well as MPs, are behind us. We now need the powers-that-be to hear us."

Jim Clawson, chairman of Devon Health Forum, said the discussions about NHS staff conditions are seriously damaging morale within the health service.

"We are talking about pay and conditions: things that really matter to workers across the country. People can sympathise with that which is why we had a lot of support from motorists tooting their horns today," he pointed out.

"I would say there is pretty much universal backing for what we're fighting for."

The workers are expected to stage another protest in Exeter on Tuesday.

According to Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, the cartel was established "in response to the serious financial and clinical service challenges facing the NHS, both now and in the future".

It said: "We, like all trusts in the consortium, are totally committed to engaging with staff and local unions throughout the period in which the full business case is produced, and beyond.

"It is important to stress that no recommendations or proposals have been put forward, nor have any decisions been made.

"We will discuss any proposal with all our staff and trades unions to ensure that any decision we make is the right one and that our staff understand the facts behind the decision."

Earlier, shadow health minister Andrew Gwynne said the NHS shows signs of "heading in the wrong direction" in response to figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre which said people lodged 3,100 complaints about their experience of the NHS every week in the past year.

"In just two years the Prime Minister has turned a successful NHS into a service that's demoralised, destabilised and fearful of the future," Mr Gwynne said.

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

    £32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

    Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough, Cam...

    Ashdown Group: C# Developer - (C#, VB.Net, SQL, Git, TDD)

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Developer (C#, VB & ASP.Net, SQL Server, TSQL) - Pe...

    Ashdown Group: Business Relationship Manager

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Business Relationship Manager - Enfield, North Lond...

    Day In a Page

    Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

    Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

    Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea