NHS managers will be urged to reject the government’s latest pay offer in a ballot of union members, LGC’s sister title Health Service Journal can reveal.
The Managers in Partnership union, which represents around 6,000 senior staff including 200 chief executives, warned that if other trade unions accepted the deal it would work with individual employers to try to restore pay for senior managers outside of the Agenda for Change framework.
The union’s council voted to ballot its members following a meeting on Tuesday over what the union called a “divisive” offer from the government to end the NHS pay dispute.
It will recommend its members reject the offer, putting managers on a collision course with other unions such as Unison and the Royal College of Midwives which are expected to recommend their members accept the deal.
The government offered to pay a consolidated 1 per cent pay rise for staff up to band 8B (a salary of £56,500) on Agenda for Change, with an additional £200 consolidated payment for lower paid staff on pay points 3-8. The bottom pay point will be scrapped and pay point 2 raised to £15,100.
These rises are on condition that staff earning more than £40,558 will not receive an increment rise this year and that unions commit to further talks to reform Agenda for Change, as well as discussing a possible cap on redundancy payments set at a maximum of £160,000.
Agenda for Change unions had previously threatened a 12 hour strike on 29 January as part of their ongoing campaign against the government’s decision to reject the NHS Pay Review Body’s recommendations.
In a statement, Managers in Partnership said the offer was unfair in targeting senior staff while leaving the pay of doctors “untouched”. It also said the offer undermines Agenda for Change and will make it harder for NHS Employers to recruit senior staff.
Jon Restell, chief executive of the union, said it supported increasing pay for the lowest paid staff, but added: “The government is solely responsible for this hugely divisive offer. It has put unions in an impossible position in the context of escalating industrial action.
“The committee considers the government’s offer undervalues senior staff and fails to recognise their skill, passion and hard work, including many hours of unpaid discretionary effort. The offer is unfair because it targets non-medical senior staff; wrong because it freezes increments; and short sighted because it ignores the impact on managers’ morale, staff and patient experience, higher agency costs and recruitment and retention.”
He added: “If the offer is accepted by unions as a whole, MiP will look to work with individual employers to restore fair pay for senior staff. We are also looking at strengthening the bargaining arrangements for senior staff nationally.”
Managers in Partnership members will also be asked to take part in an online consultation on the offer, and will be asked about their average weekly hours worked.