Opinion

Rights at work: it pays to get involved

05 July 2019

Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe, Unite national officer for health, gives a flavour of the latest pay update and encourages you to become a job evaluation expert in your local area.

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A pay circular has been issued with information for employers, employees and other stakeholders regarding the pay arrangements for employees covered by the Agenda for Change agreement in Wales for year two of the three-year deal.

It contains details on the non-consolidated payment for 2019-20 for employees at Band 1, and for all staff employed at the top pay points in Bands 2 to 8c, which should have been paid in April. The circular also outlined the effective date for the closure of Band 1, and the transitioning arrangements for staff on Band 1 to move into Band 2, among other updates.

Positive talks have also now taken place between trade unions, employers and the Welsh Government to agree a six-month extension to continue to pay the unsocial hours enhancement during sickness absence after 31 March 2019.

In Northern Ireland, discussions continue between trade unions, employers and civil servants to resolve the technical issues around implementing year two of the Agenda for Change pay deal.

The results of any progress made from these discussions will be put back to the NHS Staff Side – including Unite members – to decide.

The key changes pertaining to NHS Scotland employees from 1 April 2019 include: the top of all bands, up to £80,000, will increase by 2.8%; staff at the top of their band earning £80,000 and above will receive a uniform £1600 uplift; and the lowest available wage of £17,949 translates into an hourly rate of £9.17 per hour – above the Scottish Living Wage rate of £9 per hour.

Become a job evaluation expert


Meanwhile, Unite in Health is conscious that since its nationwide roll-out in 2004, Agenda for Change has underpinned the working partnership between trade unions and employers to implement pay, terms and conditions, the knowledge and skills framework and job evaluation.

As part of this process, job evaluation experts have an important part to play as they work on local panels to analyse roles, match gradings and maintain consistency in pay and contracts across all NHS roles. However, we’ve seen a dearth in trained trade union activists taking part in local job evaluations and, anecdotally, we have come across job evaluation panels up and down the country without trade union members.

We know that with facility time being harder to obtain, and ever-increasing pressure on NHS staff who are being stretched to the limit, it can be a challenge for our Unite workplace representatives to become involved in job evaluation. But as uncertainty and scattergun structural changes are being proposed, it’s imperative that we have a full roster of trained job evaluation experts in each and every NHS employer.

There are four dates left in July and September to participate in our job evaluation courses, for which you should obtain your employer’s permission and consent. If your employer does not make it easy for you to attend, please contact your regional officer. 


Courses

  • 12 July – Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, London. Contact Lesley-Anne Baxter
  • 22-23 July – Yeovil District Hospital, Yeovil. Contact John Pestle
  • 3-4 September – nationally run, Wakefield. Contact Hope Daley
  • 16 September – nationally run, Wakefield. Contact Lesley-Anne Baxter

Image credit | iStock

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