Last week, GMB Congress 2023 voted unanimously to support the Ambulance Service Campaign to scrap Section 2 Agenda for Change. This means that this campaign is now GMB Policy and GMBs National Ambulance Committee will continue to lead on this priority campaign. (Full details of the motion and debate can be found at the end of this update).
Watch this short video from Simon Day, GMB National Ambulance Committee member, speaking after the Motion was carried: https://youtu.be/MeFrr_iE048
Thank you to all those members who responded to GMBs recent survey on this key issue. The results are in and evidenced exactly what our members working across the ambulance service have been telling us.
- 38% of respondents who are on Section 2 were forced onto it from Annex 5.
- 58% of those on Section 2 would transfer onto Annex 5 if given the choice.
- 86% of respondents who are on Annex 5 stated that they would not change jobs or seek promotion so as not to lose Annex 5 terms. But, 96% of these would if they were able to stay on Annex 5.
GMB has already withdrawn from the Section 2 Working Group of the National Ambulance Strategic Partnership Forum (NASPF). This is a working group that was established after GMB raised concerns over the inconsistent and unfair application of this section across the different services. That was in January 2021 and no progress has been made. We have therefore withdrawn from that group to focus on securing the changes needed via alternative routes. Our sister Unions – Unison, Unite and RCN – have joined us in that stance.
GMB will now share the results of our survey with ambulance employers on the NASPF and request a meeting to discuss how we move forwards. Their failure to prioritise this will leave us with no alternative than to enter into dispute.
Further information will follow in the coming days and weeks about this campaign and how you and your work colleagues can get involved and secure fair terms for all.
MOTION 157. NATIONAL CAMPAIGN TO RESCIND SECTION 2 T&C’S WITHIN AMBULANCE SERVICES
This Congress notes that on 1 September 2018, any new starter to the ambulance service had their unsocial hours payments paid via the less favourable Section 2 of the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook rather than the more favourable Annex 5. Any existing staff member who moves roles is moved from Annex 5 to Section 2.
Any staff paid under Section 2 terms and conditions, unlike Annex 5, receive no unsocial hours uplift when off sick. This has introduced a two tier pay structure within ambulance services that provides less favourable terms and conditions for new employees and existing employees who change their role. The cost saving, unnegotiated change to terms and conditions has proven to be detrimental and discriminatory to remuneration of new staff and has significantly contributed, beyond any other factor, to the halting of progression and developments of established staff.
Members holding equal or equivalent responsibility and roles should receive equal reward, terms and conditions. That staff who wish to progress in their employment should not be put at financial detriment as a result of this cost saving which produces a discriminatory two tier system to pay and conditions.
That GMB instigates and supports a national campaign to eradicate the use of Section 2 terms and conditions in the ambulance services.A02 AMBULANCE BRANCH Midlands Region
Simon Day, Midlands Region, Branch Secretary A02 Ambulance Branch Moving motion 157 on support for a national campaign to irradicate Section 2 terms and conditions in Ambulance Services.
Congress, I want to begin by expressing our gratitude to you all for the opportunity you have given us to add our campaign to the other amazing campaigns highlighted yesterday supported by our union.
On 1 September 2018, any new starter to the Ambulance service was contracted on the less favourable section 2 of the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service rather than the more favourable annex 5. Any existing staff member who, from that date onward, moves roles is also contracted on the less favourable Section 2 terms and moved off annex 5. Staff paid on Section 2 terms and conditions, receive less unsocial hours uplift, being paid consistently less in their pay packets and unlike annex 5, receive no Unsocial Hours Uplift when off sick. This introduced a two tier pay structure within ambulance services that provides less favourable terms and conditions for new employees and existing employees who change their role. This is an overt and despicable passing on of efficiencies and cost savings to the pay packets of our members in the ambulance service and is fundamentally unacceptable. It has repeatedly proven to be detrimental to renumeration of new staff, to be a bullying tool for employers to keep staff at work when they are not fit for work and should be off sick and has significantly contributed, beyond any other factor, to the halting of progression and development of long serving staff. These terms and conditions, although national, are not imposed uniformly by different trusts across the country resulting in regional variations flying in the face of our opposition to regional public sector pay polices. That’s why the National Ambulance Committee have prioritised to campaign and organise action to remove the use of Section 2 terms and conditions by ambulance service trusts.
Members holding equal or equivalent responsibility and roles should receive equal reward, terms and conditions. If they are doing the same job they should be receiving the same pay and conditions and not be treated differently because of their start date. Members who wish to progress in their career should not be put at financial detriment as a result. It’s worth noting at this point, that the national survey conducted by NAC found that 86% of long serving staff who responded would not develop their career because their terms and conditions changed, but a massive 93% of that group would seek to develop their career if they were not moved onto these detrimental terms and conditions. These efficiency savings, imposed on GMB ambulance service members, rob senior clinical and management positions of the experience and expertise those roles require that long serving staff would bring and Congress, I know you will agree, that not a single member of ambulance service staff, however long they may have been employed, should be bullied into staying at work when they are not fit to do so with the threat of a significant financial detriment as provided by these cost saving, divisive, unethical and unequal pay and conditions.
We hold GMB to its commitment to Make Work Better and ask that they get on board with the ambulance campaign. We request that GMB advocate with its support in parliament and the Labour party and, at every opportunity and every level, promote the National Ambulance Committee’s campaign to irradicate the use of derisory section 2 terms and conditions in ambulance services.
Ian Burton, President of East Midlands Ambulance Service Branch – Midlands Region Seconding Motion 157.1st time delegate, 2nd time speaker. President, Congress – Good Afternoon
On Sunday I stood here and talked about pay and the Ambulance Service and since then I have been receiving many messages of support after I shared my experiences with you – and I thank you for those.
Today I am supporting my colleague from West Midlands Ambulance Service and all other colleagues in the Ambulance Service with Motion 157.
Fair and equal pay for all should mean exactly that.
I was going to talk about ‘Ambulance Drivers’, or Paramedics, Technicians and Emergency Care Assistants as we prefer to call them. Instead, I’ll mention the unsung heroes of the ambulance service, the control room staff, 999 call takers and dispatch officers.
2 Dispatch officers on the same pay band, working the same rota pattern would have a difference in overall salary of approximately £2500pa – with the staff on section 2 being the lower paid.
Retention and development of Ambulance Staff is more of a problem now than it has ever been. Section 2 is a barrier to both.
Many Trusts are needing to employ Private Ambulance providers to try and meet the increasing demand of the public as a result of not being able to recruit or retain enough of their own staff. This use of Private firms comes at a cost.
My Trust spends over £35,000 a day on private providers, each ambulance costing much more than it would for 2 NHS Ambulance workers for the same shift.
The complicated pay scale also results in many mistakes being made every month. The staff themselves need to fully understand the system to be able to then prove their employer has paid them incorrectly. This is obviously bad for morale.
The National Ambulance Committee will take this forward, but with the backing of the full GMB, all Ambulance Service members will see and feel that support.
And potentially also encourage new members to join.
Congress, please support this motion – I second
Posted: 12th June 2023