TUC 2018: Full speech on National Pay Bargaining September 12th


Text of a speech by Dr Paul Donaldson to TUC Conference 2018 in support of Motion 50 on National Sectoral Bargaining.


"Hospital doctors were the first group of public sector workers to have their pay decided by a pay review body. For some time, the independence of the process satisfactorily produced pay recommendations that did maintain the real value of pay and the integrity of the process.

"Indeed, in the early 1970s, the Doctors and Dentists Pay Review Body resigned “en masse” when the government of the day proposed to meddle with its award.

"Since then, and markedly in the 1990s, the Doctors and Dentists Pay Review recommendations were set aside or only partly implemented, and increasingly the process began to lose the confidence of doctors subject to it.

"One of the objects of the pay review body for doctors was to remove bargaining in the setting of doctors’ pay, and by that remove the prospect of industrial action by doctors.

"In the last few years, we have seen our review body approached to consider changes to the working pattern of doctors by a government intent on pushing through changes by seeking the endorsement of a putatively independent body.

"The DDRB have dutifully endorsed its proposed changes and it has handed them down for implementation by employers.

"Unsurprisingly, confidence has been shaken in the impartiality of the pay review body. While claiming to be driven by the recruitment to and retention in the profession, the review body awards have done preciously little to this end.

"It appears that the review body has embraced as unchallengeable the government’s pay policies over the years, leaving doctors to question: what is the point of its existence?

"We wholeheartedly share the concerns and views expressed in this motion, and believe that the time has come to introduce full sectorial bargaining into all parts of the NHS."