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Calling on Trust to pull out of SWC
11:44am Thursday 6th September 2012 in Salisbury Letters
IT is difficult to know what to make of the discussion document produced by the South West Pay, Terms and Conditions Consortium (SWC), of which our own Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust is a member.
At first sight it is a masterpiece of obfuscation. Witness: “The SWC has been set up to produce a full business case by the end of the calendar year in order to quantify the current and future economic, financial and services challenges, and in turn consider how best to create a ‘fit for purpose’ set of pay, terms and conditions.”
But it does say that the SWC “remains committed to achieving a ‘fit for purpose’ set of terms and conditions through national negotiations”.
Why, then, have a local consortium?
While it has been widely reported that Agenda for Change (which excludes doctors, dentists and senior managers) allows trusts to set their own local terms and conditions, the document reveals that it “only allows changes which are the same (in cost) or more expensive than Agenda for Change and in agreement with staff-side”.
Why have a consortium that cannot produce something that costs less than Agenda for Change?
The document also admits that the SWC “does not have the authority, responsibility nor mandate to engage in negotiations, as sovereignty rests with individual participating trusts”. So what is it for?
The SWC (in an FAQ section) says it is “neither desirable nor necessary” to dismiss staff and reengage on new pay, terms and conditions. But the SWC goes on to say it will do “all that is possible to avoid this”, implying that it might happen anyway.
In its FAQ section the SWC says it is not talking to the unions because they are unwilling to discuss the project while national negotiations are taking place. This is a bit rich coming from an organisation whose existence was only revealed by a leaked document.
Nobody doubts that changes need to take place to meet the financial challenges. But the SWC appears to have no power or purpose, is a waste of time and public money for all concerned and has merely succeeded in alienating staff and unions at Salisbury District Hospital.
We call on the Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust to pull out of the SWC and re-engage with its staff.
You can view the documents at meetingthechallenge.info .
ANGELA LAWSON Secretary, Salisbury Labour Party