Luke Pollard MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, working with Plymouth trade unions, has forced a U-turn from the Government that will see a pay rise for 3,000 healthcare workers at Livewell South West in Plymouth.
Livewell SouthWest is a social enterprise that employs 3,000 healthcare workers across the city including vital mental and physical health professionals, social workers, district nurses, occupational therapists and school nurses as well as others. They had been excluded from the Government’s recent announcement of a pay rise for NHS staff as they work for a social enterprise.
This would have meant that NHS and Livewell staff – doing the same job – would be paid different amounts in the new merged organisation. Livewell and the NHS will merge next year creating a fully integrated healthcare system for Plymouth. Concerns were raised with Luke Pollard by the GMB, Unite and UNISON trade unions that their members in Livewell would not get the same pay rise as being given to NHS staff. This was because of an administration technicality which said they were not under an NHS employer at the time.
Having met with affected staff and trade unions in Plymouth, Luke Pollard, raised the issue directly with Health Ministers in the House of Commons saying that the proposals as they stood risked creating a two tier workforce in Plymouth’s health service.
Luke Pollard MP said:
“On the day we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the creation of the National Health Service, it is fitting that staff working for Livewell South West finally get the pay rise they deserve. The 3,000 Livewell staff do a superb job in Plymouth and the decision by Ministers to exclude them from the NHS pay rise hit morale and risked creating a two tier workforce when Livewell merges with the NHS next year.
Ministers made the wrong call on pay for health care staff working in social enterprises and I am pleased that the pressure trade unions and MPs have put on Ministers has produced this timely u-turn and means 3,000 healthcare workers in Plymouth will get the pay rise they deserve. It shows that when we work together to get a fairer deal for Plymouth we can do it.
Everyone who works in our health service, whether for Livewell, GP surgeries or Derriford deserve our huge thanks and support. I am pleased that Ministers have listened to our campaign and made the right decision. Next time, I hope they make the right decision on pay the first time and don’t need to u-turn under pressure.”
Councillor Tudor Evans OBE, Leader of Plymouth City Council said:
“Pay equalisation is an issue for the whole country as health and social care integration rolls out. This is really great that we have taken a huge step forward for everyone in the sector. Well done to Luke and the MPs and trade unions who have raised this issue.”
Katherine Darcy, GMB Regional Organiser in Plymouth said:
“At GMB we passionately believe that the there shouldn’t be a two their system of pay in the NHS,
“With the impending integration, it makes no sense for there to be a stop gap measure when with a little bit of foresight we can nip this issue in the bud.
“We’re pleased that the Government have agreed with this principal, after a vibrant campaign that included all parts of the GMB Family. We’d like to thank everyone who took part, from local reps and organisers, councillors, and our fantastic Labour, GMB MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, Luke Pollard.”
David Dodd, UNISON Lead Representative said:
“When Plymouth in UNISON launched our campaign for pay justice in Livewell we knew we would need help from our local MPs to get the message to relevant ministers. We are grateful that Luke Pollard stepped up and look forward to working together with him in the future to defend the NHS and its staff including out sourced staff (including Livewell staff) that do such great work for us all.”
Livewell staff work out of nearly 40 different sites throughout Plymouth and the far SW including Mount Gould Hospital, South Hams Hospital, Tavistock Hospital, Glenbourne, Windsor House, Derriford Hospital, the Cumberland Centre and Westbourne.