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…

46 thoughts on “Pay”

  1. So… you guys save lives, you get paid more than 10k less than tube drivers, and then they shaft you like this.This really is outrageous. How on earth do they expect anyone to get by for a month on just a few hundred pounds? I can't imagine how much stress it must be for the poor people who open their pay packet to discover themselves to be so short of pay this month. It's absolutely disgraceful.

  2. this is a cock upthe terms of AfC quite clearly state that if you are on a pay band lower(19248) than your current pay(22500), you will continue to have protected pay (22500) until the lower rate has reached or exceeds your protected rate. you cannot be “overpaid” as it was what you were entitled to anyway.

    the ambulance service is different from the nurses unsocial pay, as we are being payed as per the old whitley system

    AfC has been badly handled, and with most trusts finances well screwed up, they're going to try every trick in the book to try and delay payment till April 2006

  3. To quote Victor Meldrew, 'I Don't Believe it!!!' How could this happen?Where 'they' have overpaid staff, just to take it back in one hit and not even discuss financial implications beforehand is completely immoral and unbelievable not to mention amateurish management wise. I would think that most people will be re-evaluating their options about the future and work out whether they can afford to continue to do a job they love (ok a little over optimistic perhaps).

    Worse still, is the fact that these very people, are the backbone of the health service, I am lost in disbelief; I hope the union people can sleep well at night, no doubt they haven't lost out on the AfC.


  4. It won't effect any future mortgage application. Its worked out on either monthly take home or as a whole year. ie P60

  5. This is bad news, and it is surprising how a few managers can make decisions that affect a whole work force without thinking properly of the implications.I hope it does get sorted especially for those whose pay packet has been serverly reduced.

  6. IAnother way your pay (as in what goes into your bank account) can go down is if you had a bigger increment under Whitley than you were 'entitled to' under AFC between October 04 and assimilation. Happened to someone in my office.

  7. Does anyone know of any appeals that have succeeded. I haven't heard of any in my hospital, and a few of us have brought our cases before the appeals committee but to no avail.

  8. I don't know how you managed to expunge the swearing from that post. And I doubt very much management has the excuse of somehow forgetting to think through the implications. You can bet your last pair of socks that they would have noticed if their own pay was involved. They just thought they could get away with it. To call them scum is to be unkind stagnant ponds.

  9. I'm not competing with you for being badly treated, because your situation needs high-lighting as a national disgrace (cf. tube drivers' pay), but I'm not sure my Trust can be beaten when it comes to bad management. So here's what can be done to make your AfC experience worse: move everyone individually over to AfC at different times over two years. This means that some people get paid overtime and others get nothing, some have lost annual leave because they were assimilated a month before their 5 years' NHS service, some were on a RRP and others aren't, new starters on AfC with no experience get the same as people on AfC who have been in the job for two years… does wonders for relations between colleagues. Some have yet to be assimilated in my department AND our Trust was an “early” implementer!

  10. Working for NatWest (I know, I'm sorry) I can confirm that we would normally be able to take figures from a p60 or written confirmation from hr/ line manager that unsociable hours are obligatory in a particular job and therefore salary will always be topped up by x amount in order to calculate what is affordable on a mortgage. hope that helps

  11. Have you seen the AfC “Christmas Tree” (as if anything could be less filled with the spirit of Xmas than AfC)?It shows the different pay bands and the bigger the branch on the tree, the more staff on that band. Biggest branches are 3/4 and 6. 3/4 are all the staff like you and nurses and administrators and people who generaly lost out under AfC (“points mean prizes” but we won't tell you how to score the points (a bit like playing darts in the dark)). 6 is junior/middle management. Band 5 is really tiny, mostly because people who should have been band 5 in terms of what they were getting paid have been a) downgraded if staff or b) upgraded to 6 if management.

    If if makes you any happier (altho I doubt it) I'm on band 6 and still can't afford a mortgage.

  12. P.S. If you are looking for somewhere else to work, Pat's new paper suggests the NHS increases use of private providers. Why don't you all move en-masse to set up a new company, pay yourself what you want and charge the NHS a fair whack for the use of your services?:-)

  13. Surely bbx is right. You should have been pay protected from October 2004 anyway. So you have been entitled to 22500 throughout, and there is no “overpayment” at all.If you weren't entitled to pay protection in October 2004, you're not entitled to it now. If you're entitled to it now, you haven't been overpaid. Or is there something I'm missing?

  14. Oh, I just read snoo's post. So you're pay protected on what you were earning in October 2004 – not what you earn now. Even if that's lower than your AFC pay though, they shouldn't just seize overpayments out of your pay without informing you about it first…Unison and/or AMICUS and definitely APAP should be tackling this. Has nobody said anything about it at all?

  15. The loss of annual leave is a disgrace. You're effectively working for the same employer – how can they justify this?If these situations are not remedied, I don't see what other option you have but to strike. The management side has been so poor that I'm sure you'd get public support. This still leaves the question of what the union thought it was up to. Do you have a choice of union? Can you vote with your feet?

  16. These decisions are made by some 300,000 a year government quango member who spends most of the day on the golf course.

  17. BTW. Has anyone noticed the lack of publicity about this? Has anyone seen anything on the TV news or newspapers? I certainly haven't. Looks like the government controls the news media after all.

  18. That is shocking, and I'd echo Vic's point about the lack of publicity attached to this. I'm in a reasonably well-paid job, but I would struggle if my monthly pay suddenly evaporated like that, so I really do sympathise with all concerned.

  19. You really need to look into this and start taking some action.First, you cannot have been overpaid under the protected pay rule. Yes, its your Oct 2004 pay that is protected, but any cost of living / length of service rises have been factored into that, and you have starts a new job, it is the starting salary on that that is protected.

    Secondly, all annual leave is also protected. So, if you are entitled to 27 under A4C rules, and are currently on 30, you will stay on 30. If, like in our trust, you're on 21 days, you jump around for joy and the management panic over all the annual leave everyone will have next year (as that is also back dated to Oct 2004)

    I am guessing (I'm sorry), that the rumours about tiny pay packets are simply that, rumours. I'm having to look into this an awful lot as my manager is being royally screwed under A4C, and needs to know exactly where she stands (she is being banded 2 grades LOWER than half her staff!!). If people have lost anything over this, then your trust has completed screwed up, and you have to appeal it within 3 months. If the union won't help, you can take it to tribunal through your local SHA (North East London SHA for you I think though I get confused with the ambulances). Again, you have 3 motnhs to start this process, and it is probably good to get ACAS involved too.

    Unfortunately, if its more than 3 months since you received “the letter”, then you will be getting into harder territory as thats when you're meant to start these processes.

    People power does seem to be working though. Entire professions joining together. My trust is close to losing every single member of staff in one certain area, and if they did that, no patients could or would be treated.

    Hope there is something useful in all of that.

  20. but wait till people realise that the in addition to this fiasco called AfC, the 10% over 3 year cost of living increase deal has expired, and that we're only likely to get 2% this year…….people will be mightly pissed off.

    i'm surprised that the unions haven't jumped up and down about this, or maybe they're keeping thier heads down as they realise that they didn't protect their members very well over AfC!

    me cynical……..never

  21. Tom,You have my support. When I was nursing, I joined the strikes outside Charing Cross hospital. That was about pay.

    When people die, that is when we as a profession, generalism I know, but you know what I mean, will get listened to; that then goes against, not only duty of care, but our own (yours) dedication, vocation and passion for caring for life….



  22. That is madness! When we need more dedicated people in health care, the powers that be have decided to take away the small amout of money we get. From what I can tell people don't work in the NHS for the pay (I don't, tho I do enjoy geting paid), they work for the job. But take away the small amount we get paid, and moral is going to slip, more than just a little, people are going to leave. In my office there is currently an exodus going on as people are being pooed on from a great hight due to AFC. I hope the frontline staff get whats needed.

  23. Tom, we in the West Midlands are just balloting on accept reject of new pay deal on A4C and they are cutting base rates or changing job descriptions at will, so I just hope we reject it en mass, but will have to wait and see. the “S” word keeps croping up more and more and the St John have been put on stand by at a national level in case we do. Just you wait till they change your shifts about so you loose your bonus as they can put in new staff working weekends and nights for less money so they will, thus reducing your pay too, but then you would never expect your boss to do things like that, after all, he is only getting a goverment adviser bonus and dare i ask how we might spell knight hood next year ?

  24. I'm with bbx – they'll try and get this past without people noticing, but they'll be fairly sure that people will notice, but they can keep everyone arguing until it's a new financial year.There's going to come a point in the NHS where the last bog roll will be bought in February, and you have to make it last till the next financial year…

  25. You're kidding right? Do you have any idea how hard it is to be a tube driver? They have to make the train go AND stop. Not only that, but they have to open AND close the doors!!!Clearly these are highly skilled people who deserve at least 100k.

    /runs off babbling

  26. I cannot BELIEVE the schemes these Unions devise you know! As ambulance crew you are the first point of contact with many patients and provide one of the most vital services known to civilized society. Your reward? Being screwed by red tape. It's truly disgusting that this is not only allowed to happen but is also hailed as 'fair' by faceless sudo-politicians. I'd say shoot the lot of 'em if it wouldn't result in yet more work for you guys!

  27. What's funny is that this was portrayed to us at a recent lecture by some LAS management as a positive change that would help morale and, subsequently, improve performance and drop response times. Funny how perspective changes things. In fact, I think one of the guys who mentioned this last week was one of your bosses!

  28. My other half is a nuclear medicine radiographer in Kent. She's asleep just now so i can't check the details, but the big problem with afc that people are talking about in her dept is it has the potential to nobble your pension which is based on basic pay, which has just dropped by 15%… There goes the last reason to stay in the NHS. She's gone down to 2 days per week because she can no longer deal with the antics of NHS management, came home in tears once too often…

  29. Getting a pay rise in A4C is not neccessarily a good thing either. All the people in my discipline have been given huge pay rises which now means that when my contract runs out in a years time I will be completely unemployable and will have to retrain in order to get another job.

  30. any reclaiming of overpayment should be discussed with the staff (snip) in advance, and (snip) should also have been arranged so that any repayment doesnt cause undue financial hardshipYes. I work as a payroll administrator for an employment recruitment company, so know for a fact that not only is this standard HR policy, but is enforced by employment regulations. They cannot make deductions to your pay to which you've not agreed UNLESS requested to do so by Inland Revenue or HM Customs, i.e. the government. Although, having said that, it's in the public service arena, so the ball may be in a different court. Nonetheless, some variant of the policy will be in effect, and I'm guessing whoever put the deductions through didn't think through to the consequences. Have at them!

    Apologies if someone has already pointed this out; I'm at work and didn't have the time to trawl through all the comments to check.

  31. This is very much a national issue with all EMT's effected. Here in the midlands the story is exactley the same and the unions seem to be hiding in a corner somewhere. Along with A4C and now plans to merge the majority of services people are loosing the enthusiasm for the job.

  32. They mentioned it a couple of times in the Midlands local news, but it was only last night that they refered to it indepth, now there are threats of strike action.

  33. Agenda for change theme tuneYesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away

    Now agenda for change is here to stay

    Oh I believe in yesterday.

    Suddenly, there's a questionnaire in front of me

    I'd like to shred it but the boss is standing over me

    Oh agenda for change came suddenly

    What do I write I don't know

    No one will say

    I wrote something wrong now I earn two pence a day.

    Agenda for change is such a crappy way to pay

    All your staff and expect them to stay

    O agenda for change please go away.

    Why we have to change I don't know

    No one can say

    The old system worked, now I long for better pay.

    Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away

    Now agenda for change is here to stay

    Oh I believe in yesterday.

  34. I just joined this site after being told about it by a midwife, I am an EMT for EMAS, and everything you said is exactly the same here. I get my first AFC back pay at the end of Feb!I hear that the west mids just voted to strike!

    I will be interested to see how it all works out, but as you say morale here is also as low as it can get!

  35. On the subject of publicity, the following was in my daily e-mail from Paramedic Network News today:A pay dispute will likely see West Midlands and Shropshire paramedics begin a series of walkouts next week. The BBC (January 31) said the industrial action, which will begin Tuesday, will continue on February 16 and 23. The work to rule campaign comes after a January 30 deadline for an agreement with the Department of Health passed. Union spokesman Mark Weatherhead said the medics' beef involves the government

    pay scale known as the Agenda for Change. Under the deal, several practitioners would have been hit with a nearly 4,000 pound salary cut. West Midlands chief executive Barry Johns said since the Agenda is national, individual services have little say when it comes to remuneration.

    Good luck dealing with this stupidity.

  36. We have just come through a pretty ugly enterprise barginning period with our service. The staff satisfaction survey was just released. Management job Satisfaction 86%, Operational Staff 63%funny that

  37. Health trusts make for a great divide and rule situation for managers. Time for concerted nationwide action, I'd have thought, so that there's no way the army (for example) or police can be called in to provide cover during industrial action.

  38. A civil servant given the task of assessing the pay of medical crews is taken ill at home. As he is carried out he looks around the big vehicle as he is taken inside and says 'Is this an ambulance?'

  39. I'm not an expert on Tech Pay in the LAS, but I work in the LAS and am a union rep.One thing you got wrong in your post was your assertion that those who dont do nights get 0% unsocial hours. Not true. Unsocial hours is calculated on a sliding scale, and all (or very nearly all) road staff get some. Your rota only has to include some element of weekend work, work between 1900/0700, or bank holidays for you to be paid an unsocial hours uplift.

    AfC is immensley complicated and it is no surprise that rumour and speculation arise.

    All the best

  40. I know exactly what you mean about a4c. I work in Berkshire and it was made virtually impossible for us not to sign up for it but after all the facts were made clear the feeling was like you get when you're looking for the ball under the cup on one of those street magicians stalls. You know youve been conned but youre not quite sure how they did it. Our big thing at the moment is meal breaks. The management decided that they're not paying us for mealbreaks anymore and gave us the option of being available for them to use at no pay and given 20 quid if they use us (which theyre not going to do because it will cost them 20 quid) or having half an hour off. They were a bit suprised when most people opted to have half an hour off.

    Anyway great blog

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