Magazine article Public Finance

DoH to Mediate in Row over NHS Contract Staff

Magazine article Public Finance

DoH to Mediate in Row over NHS Contract Staff

Article excerpt

The Department of Health is to try to broker a deal in a long-running row over private firms' refusal to offer Agenda for Change to their staff working in the NHS, Public Finance has learned.

Officials at the ministry are to convene a top-level working party after next week's general election to try to thrash out an agreement on the issue.

PF understands that the group will comprise senior officials from Unison, Amicus, and the GMB trade unions, top managers from the major NHS contractors and the CBI.

The DoH s move is an attempt to defuse an increasingly heated dispute, which centres on the pay and conditions of up to 100,000 support staff such as cleaners and porters, who work in hospitals but provide services that have been contracted out to private companies.

Trade unions argue it is discriminatory that they are missing out on the double-digit pay rises being given to the lowest-paid NHS staff, and have lodged formal claims for full implementation of Agenda for Change with all NHS contractors.

But private contractors say their contracts with the NHS will not fund these rates of pay and claim they cannot afford them, estimating it could cost up to £100m. …

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