RD&E staff protest at new pay plans
STAFF have protested outside the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital over plans to introduce regional pay.
Unison members from across the region are angry at decisions by health trusts to join a consortium that is looking to move away from nationally negotiated terms and conditions.
They fear they could see a cut in their pay and conditions of up to 15 per cent if the proposal goes ahead.
In a noisy demonstration outside the RD&E on Tuesday they pledged to do whatever it takes to stop it from going ahead.
More than 50 employers and union representatives held up banners and chanted as they were supported by the beeping horns of passing motorists.
Protesters claimed the consortium posed a big threat to the staff and patient services in the city as well as the knock-on effects in the local economy. The demonstration was followed by leafleting in the city centre and a public meeting at Exeter Central Library supported by MP Ben Bradshaw and several union representatives.
Steve Wright, the RD&E branch secretary for Unison said: "People are coming on breaks and before work to show their collective support. This is not just about pay but also about the service the RD&E can provide. We will lose professionals to other hospitals. This is the start of the break-up of the NHS."
Jeannett Martin, regional director for the Royal College of Nursing South West said: "Everyone is worried and very angry.
"The trust is losing the confidence of staff and I would urge them to withdraw from the cartel."
A registered nurse at the RD&E called Matthew said: "A lot have moved here from other parts of the country and are already talking about moving back.
"Morale is very low. We are already on a pay freeze and the cost of living is continually going up. This will have a big impact on us."
An RD&E spokesman said that it was business as usual at the hospital on Tuesday with no services or patients affected by the demonstration with staff taking part in it in their own time. Those involved in the consortium said it has been established in response to the "serious financial and operational challenges facing the NHS, both now and in the future."