andrewducker: (obey the penguin)
[personal profile] andrewducker
There are currently a lot of rumours going around that in next week's budget announcement there will be an end to national pay scales for nurses and teachers*.

I am in favour of this change.

However, I am not in favour of this because I think that nurses in Yorkshire are paid too much. I think that the nurses in London are not being paid enough.

There's a study from 2008 that shows that when private nurses in an are paid significantly more than the NHS nurses then the NHS hospitals are unable to make use of a stable body of nurses, and are instead dependent on agency staff, with all sorts of negative consequences**.

So I would like to see the local health authorities paying the wages necessary in their area to get the staff they need***, rather than paying a centrally set wage, and in that I'm in agreement with George Osborne. I just rather think that in order to provide a good quality health service it's probably going to cost more rather than less.

*At the moment there is a standard set of pay grades across the country, meaning that nurses in urban Kent and nurses in rural Yorkshire are paid the same amount. There is an additional weighting just for London, but that's the only regional variance. As the various costs of living (particularly housing) vary dramatically across the country this means that, effectively, people in some areas are paid better than in others.
**Here - "if the private wage is 10% higher in one area than another, the death rate is 4-5% higher."
***I suspect that we'd continue to have pay scales, but that they would be set regionally, rather than nationally.

Date: 2012-03-19 11:36 am (UTC)
bagpuss: (Default)
From: [personal profile] bagpuss
Directed here from miss_sb

I think my greatest fear with this change is that it won't be used to ensure that the lowest paid public sector works get paid more when they are in parts of the country which are very expensive but it will be used to ensure the lowest paid get paid less in less expensive places to live and nothing at least the media have said seem to suggest that any safe guards have been put in place to ensure that wages go up aswell as down

Date: 2012-03-17 04:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] steer.livejournal.com
The death rate reporting there is somewhat misleading. In general higher wage is linked with lower death rates (the opposite way to that story reports). The story has carefully sub-divided their sample "the proportion of patients aged 55 or more, admitted to hospital after a heart attack" to find one with the opposite correlation. It may be that this is linked with the number of nurses, however, they are a long way from providing evidence for that link when, overall the death rate decreases as wages go up. So I would be very careful about leaping to conclusions.

Death rates are linked to absolute wage but they are more strongly linked to your position in the work heirarchy. So a better fit than "wage" is whether your position in the company is the lowest, middle or highest such position. The death rate for the lowest positions is higher and this link is stronger than that of absolute wage (once other factors are accounted for).

The "postcode lottery" phrase is one I hate especially in healthcare because it misses the point that treatment should be very different in different regions. A poor part of Glasgow should be far better geared to deal with hypothermia and heroin addiction than a wealthy part of London.

I'm afraid I'm very much not in favour of the change in pay scales. In my profession my union worked long and hard to get the national pay scales. The reason is that private sector salaries are subject to government caprice. If they want to save a bit of money they can trim public sector salaries. This provokes union reaction and sometimes public outcry -- unless you can do it slowly area by area. "Teachers on strike because of a wage cut to teachers" is a story "Teachers in Linconshire on strike because of a wage cut to teachers in Linconshire, not so much" (and unions often have issues with very localised strikes anyway).

If the actual aim was to even out pay differentials they would keep the national pay scales and increase the regional weighting (currently only London for most public sector jobs) to cover more areas. This would allow collective bargaining to continue but provide the required geographic separation. Instead they'll go for "divide and rule":
"We're cutting wages to those bastards over there, they don't need it, houses can be obtained for £20,000 and you don't feel you need to support them do you? They don't need much money, they could buy a house a meal four four every night and have change from a few grand"
"We're cutting wages to those bastards over there, they don't need it, they're paid already 50% more than you with their swanky cars and posh London ways."

Date: 2012-03-17 05:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] steer.livejournal.com
They're functionally identical for pay but not for negotiation hence why union is up in arms.

Date: 2012-03-17 06:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] steer.livejournal.com
Well, I can only cite that in practice unions find it much easier to negotiate with a national set wage. You can say to all your members "we are negotiating for a 5% pay rise for all members". Unions are not daft about this.

Take the "we will strike everywhere if any authority pays us less than £X" -- it's vulnerable to 75% of people saying "Well, we're already paid more than that so we don't have to".

The point of a national pay scale is the unions have a single thing to negotiate for.

Date: 2012-03-17 10:00 pm (UTC)
matgb: Artwork of 19th century upper class anarchist, text: MatGB (Default)
From: [personal profile] matgb
"We will strike everyone in the country if any authority pays us less than £X." is there?

Yes, it's called secondary picketing and was mad eillegal by Thatcher as the miners and others abused it horribly. One employer is one employer.

FWIW, agree with you completely on your main point, it's daft that I get paid the same here as I would in SE England. Obviously, I'm happy with it, but...

Date: 2012-03-18 01:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] philmophlegm.livejournal.com
The fact that this is even remotely controversial really makes me despair...

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