Plymouth protest petition is handed in over NHS pay cartel
PROTESTERS have handed in a 2,500-strong petition to Derriford Hospital opposing the proposed introduction of regional pay.
More than 35 protesters made a stand at Derriford Hospital yesterday but now staff will have to play the "waiting game" over the result.
The group presented the petition to hospital bosses at the Trust Board meeting.
Unions Unison, Unite, the RCN and GMB have been collecting signatures from city staff, patients and the public in a bid to oppose the 'South West Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium' made up of 20 NHS trusts in the South West – including Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Derriford – who formed to drive down wage costs.
A draft consortium document, leaked to The Herald at the end of 2012, states NHS employers are increasingly recognising the need to consider "further more radical changes to the pay and conditions of the workforce".
Suggestions include reductions in unsocial hours payments, increased working hours, cuts to annual leave and reductions in basic pay and cuts to sick pay.
And despite local pay deals recently being rejected by the Government, health chiefs have said they could still push ahead with imposing wage cuts on NHS staff in Plymouth.
Derriford UNISON handed in a paper petition with 2,500 names and 550 people have also backed the cause on the online Derriford Hospital petition. There are also over 20,000 people nationally who have stood up to be counted on the national Government petition.
Suzy Franklin, branch secretary at Derriford UNISON, said: "It was very positive. We had far more members there than we expected and they were also asking the board questions which I thought was really brave. I was really pleased we had so much support."
Nurses and physiotherapists were also present among the 35 protesters. "It's great that we're really reaching members and our work is worthwhile," Ms Franklin said.
"It's a waiting game now. It just creates angst for workers," she added.
Richard Crompton, chairman of Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust said: "We welcomed the union representatives to the Trust Board meeting today. Our position on the South West Pay Terms and Conditions Consortium remains as it has been.
"We still await the recommendations, which we have a duty to consider. However, no decision will be taken until we have listened to staff and their representatives and heard their opinions."