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Angry NHS workers plan demonstration at Royal Sussex against pay cuts
11:24am Sunday 23rd February 2014 in News
ANGRY NHS workers are to hold a demonstration against cuts in pay.
The GMB has criticised Brighton and Sussex University Hospital NHS Trust’s decision to reduce the amount of money it pays to its team of nursing bank staff.
The move, which could save up to £1.5 million a year, will affect hundreds of workers.
The GMB said cutting the salaries of workers towards the bottom end of the pay scale will increase the “massive inequality” between the highest and lowest paid workers at the trust.
It warned that staff morale was also being affected.
Bank staff provide cover for vacancies, sickness and special leave such as mater- nity and there are around 2,200 on the books.
Most are already employed by the trust, using bank shifts as over- time to earn extra money.
However more than 500, including nurses and healthcare assistants, only work bank shifts and do not get sick or holiday pay.
The cut means a band 2 healthcare assistant cur- rently paid £11.26 an hour for a 12-hour weekday shift will be paid £7.89 an hour instead.
The trust said its current pay rate for bank staff was higher than average and meant lower banded bank- only staff were being paid more than full-time workers at a higher level to them.
The GMB is staging the demonstration outside the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton at 11am on March 3, the day the new system is due to start.
Regional organiser Gary Palmer said the demo would highlight concerns about reducing earnings for lower- paid staff.
He said: “It is also to point out these cuts come at a time when trust employees have effectively already had to suffer from pay cuts year on year, due to pay freezes or awards that were below the rate of inflation.”
A trust spokesman said it was working to ensure its bank rates were fairer to all staff.
He said: “Our bank rates were higher than most hos- pitals in England and were in many circumstances unfair.
“For example, a bank healthcare assistant was being paid more than a band 5 trained nurse and a band 3 bank nurse was being paid more than a band 3 substan- tive nurse for exactly the same shift on the same ward.”
He said that up to 100 bank staff were already being offered permanent jobs in the NHS. The trust is aiming to make £20 million of savings this year to keep it on financial track.