Issue date
09 Jul 2018
A round-up of union news from across the South West

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Outsourcing Salisbury hospital staff will create two-tier workforce

Dedicated NHS staff face being transferred to a new arms-length private company if plans by Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust go ahead.

Staff at Salisbury District Hospital have been informed of the trust’s proposals that will affect 375 health workers including porters, switchboard operators and couriers.

In April this year, a Freedom of Information request by UNISON revealed that the trust was planning to spend £300,000 on advice from consultants regarding the establishment of wholly owned subsidiaries. UNISON says that subsidiary companies appeal to NHS trusts because they can use them to reduce their VAT payments and cut the pay and pensions for any new staff.

Staff at the hospital have received praise in recent months for their dealing of the Novichok incidents, with home secretary Sajid Javid thanking them for their “tireless professionalism and for the dedicated way they are providing it”.

General secretary Dave Prentis said: “If the trust goes ahead with these plans, it will create a two-tier workforce where new staff are likely to be far worse off in terms of their pay and pensions. The trust needs to find a different way of saving money that won’t have such a negative impact on patients, services and staff.”


South West childcare fees have risen twice as fast as wages

Working parents in the South West with children under five have seen nursery fees rise three times faster than their wages over the past decade.

TUC analysis shows that childcare costs have rocketed by 48% per week since 2008 for families in the South West with a full-time and a part-time working parent. Over the same period their wages have gone up by 24%.

The situation is even worse for lone parents. Childcare costs for a single mum or dad working full time have risen seven times faster than earnings. 

Fees in England are now on average:

•          £236 a week for a child under 2 in nursery, compared to £159 in 2008

•          £232 a week for a child over 2 in nursery, compared to £149 in 2008.

More here

Generational pay gap doubled

The pay gap between young and older workers in the South West has increased by more than half in the last 20 years. A new TUC report shows that in 1998 the pay gap between over-30s and under-30s in the region was 11.9% (£1.15 an hour in 2017 prices). However, in 2017 it had widened to 25% (£3 an hour).

The generational pay gap has increased in real terms from £2,392 in 1998 to £6,240 in 2017 for someone working a 40-hour week. It has grown by £3,848 over the last two decades.

Nationally, more than a third (36.1%) of under-30s are currently work in caring, sales or elementary occupations, compared to just over a quarter (25.8%) of over-30s. And the number of 21-30-year-olds working in low-paid industries like private social care (+104%) and hotels and restaurants (+80%) has shot up since 1998, even though today’s young workers are the most qualified generation ever.



Bring out your banners

There is a new gallery of trade union banners from the South West here. Arranged in the family tree of unions, the photos show the range of baners at various events. If you have a photo of a banner not list please send copies to [email protected]

South West Banners



Black Power and British Race Relations

Friday 12 October 7.30-9

Drake Room, Guildhall, Plymouth

Roger McKenzie UNISON Assistant General Secretary will talk about the 50th anniversary of the Black Power salute at the Mexico Olympic Games that sparked controversy around the world. October is also Black History Month and the South West TUC invites people to consider the on-going struggle for race equality.

More details to follow

Register here



Protest the Tory Party Conference

Saturday 29 September 11am

Victoria Square, Birmingham

No more austerity, income increase now, retract the Trade Union Act, stope the racism.

Rebels and Radicals - the Road to Democracy

Saturday 6 October

Civic Centre, Trowbridge

The Henry de Bohun History Festival Conference will celebrate the Centenary of Women getting the vote and of Universal Male Suffrage.

Thomas Helliker Lecture

Saturday 27 October 10.30am-3.30pm

The Cause, Chippenham SN15 3DD

Thomas Helliker was hanged in 1803 following a strike amongst Trowbridge cloth worker. The theme this memorial lecture is Information Technology – challenges and opportunities in the workplace. Speakers include Nigel Costley, South West TUC Regional Secretary, Rosie MacGregor on West Wiltshire Information Systems and Mick Rix, GMB National Officer.

Further information 01225 865107

Spirit of 1868

A roaring, rousing account of 150 years of workers’ struggle for a better world.

With its exhilarating blend of folk, blues, punk and reggae rhythms, Spirit of 1868 celebrates the trade union movement’s continued fight for workers’ rights, and shines a light on some of the struggles, protests and moments of resistance that shaped our past and our present. Promo video: Spirit of 1868

To book a performance or get more information: [email protected]


Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival

19-21 July 2019

Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival