Magazine article Public Finance

Ancillary Staff Pay 'Used to Cover Deficits'

Magazine article Public Finance

Ancillary Staff Pay 'Used to Cover Deficits'

Article excerpt

Up to 30,000 NHS cleaning, portering and facility staff will not receive their promised Agenda for Change pay increases this year as deficit-hit hospitals have reneged on last year's joint agreement between themselves, unions and contractors, Public Finance has learnt.

On August 14, health minister Lord Warner wrote to all strategic health authority chairs and chief executives requesting that they urge their local hospital trusts to implement the September 2005 agreement.

This says that 'soft facilities' staff contracted through private companies were to receive terms and conditions 'no less favourable' than those available to direct NHS employees.

Warner said the voluntary agreement was designed to dispel fears that a two-tier workforce would 'put service quality at risk and, in some cases, was leading to industrial relations problems'.

The agreement was supposed to be implemented in three stages and completed by this October, 'but in practice implementation has been slower than expected, and at present it looks as though only a third of contracts are likely to be compliant by that date,' Warner continued.

In April, an additional £75m was added to the national tariff to fund an increase in the minimum wage for facilities staff from £5. …

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