Unison hold strike ballot in NHS pay dispute

26 Aug 14
Strike action ballot papers have been dispatched today to 350,000 NHS workers in England by trade union Unison in a dispute over pay.

By Andrew Pring | 27 August 2014

Strike action ballot papers have been dispatched to 350,000 NHS workers in England by trade union Unison in a dispute over pay.

Nurses, paramedics, therapists, cooks, cleaners and healthcare assistants among those voting in the dispute, which followed after a pay deal for 2014/15 offered 1% cost-of-living increases only to staff who were not receiving a pay award through progression.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander then announced that the same restrictions would apply in 2015/16 when he cancelled the examination by the independent NHS Pay Review Body.

Unison’s ballot opens on Thursday and will close on September 18. If members support the call, Unison’s health services executive group and its industrial action committee will convene to announce any action.

As a result of the decision to not award the 1% to all workers 60% of NHS staff, including 70% of nurses, have been denied a cost-of-living increase this year, the union said. This was against the recommendation of the review board, which recommended the 1% rise for all staff.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said the NHS relied on the good will of its staff but that workers had been hit by the rise in the cost of living.

The government’s move was mean and unfair, he added.

‘Voting for strike action is never an easy decision – even more so for NHS workers who spend their lives caring for people. But the government’s refusal to give the vast majority any pay increase this year is a slap in the face. So we are asking our members to vote yes to turn their anger into action.

‘Staff are on average 10% worse off than when the coalition came to power and this means their families are suffering and morale is hitting rock bottom.  A well motivated workforce saves lives so we need to cherish and support our NHS staff who work day in day out caring for others.’


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