DISCLAIMER: I am not an economist, and while I talk about union matters I’m not a member of any union. Everything that I post here is true to the best of my knowledge at this moment.
When the unions asked the ambulance crews if we wanted to sign up to AfC “Agenda for Change”, we didn’t know the terms and conditions, nor what we would be paid. The unions (at least Unison) suggested that we sign up to the new deal sight unseen.
The official deadline for the implementation of AfC was October 2004 – but it has taken so long for our pay to be worked out, we have only just started receiving it.
Our basic pay has gone down.
In the old scheme I was paid approx £22,500, with a bonus of £2,000 due to the high cost of living in London. I wasn’t paid more for working nights or weekends.
Now, under AfC, I am paid £19,248 as basic pay. I have money added for living in London. The difference is that you receive a bonus on your pay depending on how many “unsocial hours” (nights and weekends) you work. Due to the shift pattern I am on, my bonus is 25%. Some people who don’t work nightshifts will have 0% bonus.
I take home more pay than I did under the old scheme (although in the long run I think I am going to be worse off because of the way the AfC ‘bandings’ work)
This month we have had our pay adjusted as we should have been paid this new rate from the deadline of October 2004.
However our ‘basic pay’ has been overpaid due to the difference between what we were paid (£22,500), and what we ‘should’ have been paid (£19248)
So that has been deducted from this months paypacket (around £3020 removed from each of us, some people for arcane reasons too complicated to go into have been deducted around £2,200). Also deducted has been the £1,000 we were ‘advance paid’ last year.
Due to our ‘bonus’ for working unsocial hours which we haven’t been paid – I have an extra £5,137 in this months paypacket – which for me, personally makes this a good month.
My additions equal £5,137
My deductions = £4,020
My bonus for this AfC is therefore £1,117 which is added to my normal pay. I come out on top (just).
If you don’t work any unsocial hours – then you would miss out on that extra £5,137 in your packet, yet will have been deducted the £3,020 because of the reduction in our basic pay. So I’ve heard of people taking home in total less than £800 this month. (I’ve heard rumours of someone’s paypacket being £68.)
Also we have paid tax on the £3,020 we were ‘overpaid’ – will we be getting a tax rebate?
While our pay is ‘protected’ from being lower than it was before AfC, this doesn’t seem to count for deductions due to overpayment – although some people more legally minded than me are saying that such a ‘clawback‘ of money is against the terms and conditions of AfC. Additionally it is believed that any reclaiming of ‘overpayment’ should be discussed with the staff four months in advance, and not sprung on us when we opened this months paypacket – it should also have been arranged so that any repayment doesn’t cause ‘undue financial hardship’.
The general thought is that the LAS accounting/management team has made a huge screw-up both legally and morally, and we are hoping that there will be a big U-turn over this pay coming soon. Some staff are seeking advice from employment lawyers, which will make the next few days ‘interesting’ so say the least.
Morale at the moment is about as low as it can go – and this will doubtless affect our ORCON times, as who wants to come in and work overtime when you feel as if the LAS has shafted you.
The unions are remaining silent at the moment, and current belief is that they have sold us road staff down the river.
Personally, I’m fuming over decisions that have scuppered so many people on the road.
Comments are, as always, welcome especially if you think I have worked things out incorrectly – but trust me, everyone in the LAS affected by this has been working things out to be the same.
See – I told you I could do this without swearing. Although there is a lot of swearing in messrooms across the capital at the moment. I’ll update you when I know more. Also – if my basic pay has gone down, this will affect any application I make in the future for a mortgage/loan – and I couldn’t afford a mortgage on my old pay…