NHS staff to lose cost of living aid

HUNDREDS of staff at an Oxfordshire health trust are to lose a cost of living allowance, in the latest blow to the county’s NHS workers.

More than 860 staff working for Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust are currently entitled to £50 a month to help with the high cost of living in the county.

But from April next year, the allowance, which was introduced in 2001, will be withdrawn.

The decision, which staff were informed about in June, has been condemned by unions representing NHS staff in Oxfordshire, as “a slap in the face” for hard-working people.

It was revealed a fortnight ago that the trust was axeing Christmas party funds.

About 700 staff at community hospitals had previously been offered a donation of up to £35 each towards a Christmas party as a thank-you for their work.

Both decisions were revealed after the trust was condemned for giving its chief executive a pay rise while other staff salaries were frozen. Julie Waldron, the former chief executive of the trust who was responsible for overseeing the cuts and was in charge when the decision was made to cut the Christmas payments, saw her salary band rise from between £160,000 and £165,000 to between £165,000 and £170,000.

She was this month replaced by Stuart Bell, whose salary is £189,000.

Oxford & District Trades Union Council president Pól Ó Ceallaigh said: “When staff are in the second and third year of a pay freeze, when senior management have just given themselves a pay rise and (when) Oxfordshire is the most expensive area in the country outside London, to remove these allowances is a slap in the face to hard-working health workers.”

Unison spokesman Ian McKendrick said: “Our members aren’t happy. There’s a chronic problem for all NHS staff working in Oxford – we are paying London prices. If you’re a health worker in London, you would be getting £4,000 to £5,000 extra. Unison thinks we should keep it for those who have got it and see it extended for everyone.”

The trust runs community hospitals, mental health services and a range of community health services.

A trust spokesman said: “Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust has been in discussions with trade union representatives since 2011, following national NHS pay guidelines.

“These guidelines stated that trusts should withdraw additional recruitment and retention payments from March 31, 2011, unless there was evidence to support their continuation. Nearly all other trusts in the Thames Valley region have already stopped these payments.”

The spokesman added: “The trust has been gone beyond most other NHS employers in making these transitional arrangements.”

Comments (6)

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12:16pm Mon 5 Nov 12

Myron Blatz says...

The problem which trade union leaders have, is that one could use the 'special case' arguement for anybody who actually works - from the streetscene people who empty everyone else's rubbish and keep the streets clean of all the mess which tourists make, to the bus operatives who make sure public transport reaches them every day in communities across Oxford and Oxfordshire, to shop workers who enable people to get foodstuffs and other essentials, teachers, Police and PCSOs who help to keep order and deal with anti-social behaviour, the firemen and firewomen, and the ambulance and paramedics, care people and ..... well, everybody! One leap forward, would be capping CEO salaries and pensions (especially here in Oxford, where the City Council pays its CEO £100,000-plus, just for one person!) and also by slashing the salaries and 'expenses' of MPs across the UK - the very people who tell the rest of us how much we cannot have .... and then award themselves mind-blowing increases whenever they feel like it! Maybe the Tories aren't exactly 'loved' ..... but if union-back Labour now has such 'brilliant answers' to the nation's problems, how come they helped put the UK into massive and chronic public debt when Brown, Ed Balls and all the others agreed to bailing-out the banks?
The problem which trade union leaders have, is that one could use the 'special case' arguement for anybody who actually works - from the streetscene people who empty everyone else's rubbish and keep the streets clean of all the mess which tourists make, to the bus operatives who make sure public transport reaches them every day in communities across Oxford and Oxfordshire, to shop workers who enable people to get foodstuffs and other essentials, teachers, Police and PCSOs who help to keep order and deal with anti-social behaviour, the firemen and firewomen, and the ambulance and paramedics, care people and ..... well, everybody! One leap forward, would be capping CEO salaries and pensions (especially here in Oxford, where the City Council pays its CEO £100,000-plus, just for one person!) and also by slashing the salaries and 'expenses' of MPs across the UK - the very people who tell the rest of us how much we cannot have .... and then award themselves mind-blowing increases whenever they feel like it! Maybe the Tories aren't exactly 'loved' ..... but if union-back Labour now has such 'brilliant answers' to the nation's problems, how come they helped put the UK into massive and chronic public debt when Brown, Ed Balls and all the others agreed to bailing-out the banks? Myron Blatz
  • Score: 0

2:12pm Mon 5 Nov 12

xjohnx says...

We, the nation, don't have the money to spare. End of! Grow up!
We, the nation, don't have the money to spare. End of! Grow up! xjohnx
  • Score: 1

3:01pm Mon 5 Nov 12

Flipmode says...

xjohnx wrote:
We, the nation, don't have the money to spare. End of! Grow up!
£50 a month is nothing compared to the money spent on stupid wars on drugs,Afganistan etc. The people who work hard and care are the ones that have thier money cut. People like xjohnx with idiot comments keep the hype alive.
[quote][p][bold]xjohnx[/bold] wrote: We, the nation, don't have the money to spare. End of! Grow up![/p][/quote]£50 a month is nothing compared to the money spent on stupid wars on drugs,Afganistan etc. The people who work hard and care are the ones that have thier money cut. People like xjohnx with idiot comments keep the hype alive. Flipmode
  • Score: -1

3:52pm Mon 5 Nov 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

A "living allowance" is quite common in Oxford. Amongst professional firms it's usually between £1200-£2000 per annum, there is one building society in Oxford that pays its cashier grade staff a £4600 allowance (pro-rata) to maintain quality of staff and commitment. I'm also aware of a professional practice in Oxford that has a "daily rate" living allowance based around the cost of 8 hours (£21.90) in the Westgate Car Park - it now works out at around £5100 per year - they must be the only people who are delighted when OCC raise the cost of parking in town.

I would sympathise with anyone who reviewed the employment opportunities and decided that the £1130 price to pay for an X90 (or Tube) season ticket was well worth the extra £5000 for working in London.

The fastest trains from Haddenham now take just 35 minutes to/from Marylebone.
A "living allowance" is quite common in Oxford. Amongst professional firms it's usually between £1200-£2000 per annum, there is one building society in Oxford that pays its cashier grade staff a £4600 allowance (pro-rata) to maintain quality of staff and commitment. I'm also aware of a professional practice in Oxford that has a "daily rate" living allowance based around the cost of 8 hours (£21.90) in the Westgate Car Park - it now works out at around £5100 per year - they must be the only people who are delighted when OCC raise the cost of parking in town. I would sympathise with anyone who reviewed the employment opportunities and decided that the £1130 price to pay for an X90 (or Tube) season ticket was well worth the extra £5000 for working in London. The fastest trains from Haddenham now take just 35 minutes to/from Marylebone. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 2

10:04am Tue 6 Nov 12

ianmck says...

xjohnx wrote:
We, the nation, don't have the money to spare. End of! Grow up!
UK corporations currently have £750 billion cash they won't invest because they can't see how to make a profit.
Her Majesteys Revenue and Customs calculates £130 billion a year is lost in unpaid corporation tax.
Tax evasion means £13 trillion has been squirrelled in the Cayman Islands tax haven.
The government is prepared to pay hundreds of billions of pounds to subsidise railways, nuclear power, a new generation of Trident nukes.
The idea that "the nation, don't have any money to spare" is the big lie of the time, put about about by those who want to see public services slashed and wages driven into the floor (a strategy that isn't working even by the Tories own terms) while pay rses for the CEO's skyrockets.
xjohnx needs to learn to read and count before telling others to "grow up".
[quote][p][bold]xjohnx[/bold] wrote: We, the nation, don't have the money to spare. End of! Grow up![/p][/quote]UK corporations currently have £750 billion cash they won't invest because they can't see how to make a profit. Her Majesteys Revenue and Customs calculates £130 billion a year is lost in unpaid corporation tax. Tax evasion means £13 trillion has been squirrelled in the Cayman Islands tax haven. The government is prepared to pay hundreds of billions of pounds to subsidise railways, nuclear power, a new generation of Trident nukes. The idea that "the nation, don't have any money to spare" is the big lie of the time, put about about by those who want to see public services slashed and wages driven into the floor (a strategy that isn't working even by the Tories own terms) while pay rses for the CEO's skyrockets. xjohnx needs to learn to read and count before telling others to "grow up". ianmck
  • Score: 0

5:35pm Tue 6 Nov 12

carfax cabby ox1 says...

Only last week there was a story about how proud Oxford City council was because they (WE) pay all their staff a cost of living wage. Between the 2 sets of workers I know which ones I would prefer to give my money to.
Only last week there was a story about how proud Oxford City council was because they (WE) pay all their staff a cost of living wage. Between the 2 sets of workers I know which ones I would prefer to give my money to. carfax cabby ox1
  • Score: 0

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