TUC 2018: HCSA calls pay review body future into question

HCSA's delegation to the 150th TUC Conference in Manchester has today backed calls to end the pay review body system for public-sector workers, asking "what is the point of its existence?"

Executive member Dr Paul Donaldson told delegates that doctors had lost confidence in the DDRB pay review body, and HCSA "wholeheartedly share the concerns and views expressed" by a Prison Officers Association motion urging "that pay review bodies should be disbanded as they are not independent of government and effectively do as they are told to achieve government objectives on pay."

The motion went on to call for a return to collective bargaining directly with employers.

Speaking in support, Dr Donaldson said: "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?"

Charting the erosion of the DDRB's independence since its 1963 establishment, he explained: "In the early 1970s, the Doctors and Dentists Review Body resigned 'en masse' when the government of the day proposed to meddle with its award," he said.

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

"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.

"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."

Full text of the speech