Headlines: November 9th, 1999

Negotiations on a long term pay deal for health service staff not covered by a pay review body will start soon. Talks will focus on replacing the annual pay round with an agreement covering several years. The outcome of the talks will effect some 350,000 workers such as clerical staff, scientists, ambulance staff and porters.The talks will be used to hammer out a completely new pay system which removes weaknesses in the present arrangements. Currently there is little incentive for staff to take on extra responsibilities or to acquire extra skills. A new approach to pay progression will seek to remedy this defect. Other changes to be negotiated include the replacement of a wide range of pay scales with three national pay spines and a radical overhaul of conditions of service.