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Last Updated: Friday, 12 November, 2004, 15:48 GMT
More workers back NHS pay deal
NHS worker
Some NHS workers say they are lowly paid
A second major trade union has voted to accept a radical shake-up in pay and conditions for NHS workers.

Members of Amicus, which represents 80,000 health service workers, voted by 56% in favour of the so-called Agenda for Change.

However, union leaders said there were still problems to be resolved.

Members of the biggest health workers' union, Unison, backed the proposed new deal by 75% on Tuesday.

We regard this very much as the start rather than the end of the process.
Gail Cartmail
Amicus national officer Gail Cartmail said: "This vote endorses the broad principles of Agenda for Change, but the relatively narrow result indicates there are still problems that need to be resolved.

"Under the present proposals, there will still be winners and losers so we regard this very much as the start rather than the end of the process.

"We will carry on working closely with our members and with government to ensure that everyone will benefit from the changes."

Mark Jones, director of the Community Practitioners' and Health Visitors' Association, described the yes vote as good news for his members.

"Not only does it give a welcome boost to their salaries, it also paves the way for a new way of working within the NHS, such as the implications for career development heralded by the Knowledge and Skills Framework."

Minimum wage

Under the Agenda for Change proposals workers will receive a minimum wage of 5.69 an hour, meaning NHS staff on the lowest wages would get an extra 35 a week. It will also usher in more flexible patterns of working.

Health secretary John Reid said he was delighted with the vote.

He said: "A newly qualified pharmacist will now be paid a starting salary of 19,337, a 12% increase, and a qualified biomedical scientist will be paid 18,114, an 8% increase.

"Agenda for Change is not just a great deal for staff, but good for patients too.

"It means more opportunities for staff to enhance their skills and work more flexibly, so patients will experience better, faster care and get more choice by having treatments at times more convenient to them."

Alastair Henderson, deputy director of NHS Employers, also welcomed the Amicus vote.

He said: "Implementation of Agenda for Change for more than one million staff across the NHS will benefit NHS employees, will support recruitment and retention and the development of new roles and opportunities and will help contribute to improvements in patient care."

The Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives have already backed the deal, but the Society of Radiographers, which has 16,000 members, has rejected the deal.

They fear their working hours will be increased without additional pay, and that there will be less money for on-call duties as part of the package.




SEE ALSO:
NHS staff back pay deal
02 Jun 03 |  Health
NHS pay deal introduced
11 Jun 03 |  Health


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