Trade union protests against regional pay outside North Devon District Hospital
TRADE Union members took to the streets in protest against proposals to introduce regional pay in the NHS yet again this week — this time braving freezing temperatures, heavy rain and floods to make their point.
And North Devon Councillor David Worden has tabled a motion against regional pay, which is due to be discussed tomorrow night, in which he calls the move a "grotesque reversal of Robin Hood".
Members of trade union Unison held placards, blew whistles and made their feelings known outside North Devon District Hospital on Tuesday morning, before presenting a petition against the proposed changes to pay to the Northern Devon healthcare NHS Trust board.
The petition, which had more than 2,000 signatories, states the union's opposition to a so called "pay cartel".
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The "cartel" is the South West Pay Consortium, a consortium of 20 NHS Trust's in the South West which has been charged with looking into introducing regional pay in the South West and thus cutting NHS wage bills.
Unison's local branch secretary, Mark Harper, said anger has been building among NHS staff and the general public as awareness of the consortium's aims grew.
"People are more angry now," he said, "more aware.
"This has been in the news and discussed in parliament and anger is growing. People are becoming more and more determined to fight it."
He said it was important the union took action such as Tuesday's, "to show the union won't give up and go away".
"We need to tell the Trust what we are opposed to and why we think it'll be detrimental to the NHS in the South West," he said.