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NHS staff ‘green light’ strike action

4 November 2011

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NHS staff have “overwhelmingly” voted in favour of strike action over public sector pension reforms, giving the “green light” to the TUC’s Day of Action at the end of November.

Union Unison’s ballot saw 70% of members vote to support a mass walkout on 30 November.

Among the NHS employees, 82% voted in favour of industrial action – although the turnout was low at 25%.

“[Yesterday’s (3 November)] Yes vote signals the green light for the first day of strike action, and we will be joining with other unions in the TUC co-ordinated day of action on 30 November,” said Dave Prentis, General Secretary of Unison.

Prentis acknowledged the “significant movement” made by the government earlier this week but claimed at this stage there is only a “theoretical pension scheme” that is yet to be translated into a firm offer.

He said it now up to government ministers and employers‚ to “get down to work and come up with firm offers that we can put to our members.”

Dean Royles, Director of the NHS Employers organisation, has called Unison’s yes-vote “disappointing” and said the low turnout reflected NHS staff’s reluctance to “withdraw their labour”.

He has urged all sides to “keep talking” in light of the low turnout, deeming it “premature” to consider industrial action at this point.

Do you think the low turnout among NHS employees reflects their reluctance to strike?

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

“No!!!!!” – Sandra Strickland, Essex

“Well, as a member of Unison I cannot recollect being asked if I want to strike. This is absolute madness, even if we are being asked to contribute more, we still have pension rights most people in industry would kill for. We will not get one ounce of sympathy from the public and could even experience a lot of resentment if people start to picket. I for one will not be joining them.” – Marie, Lancs

“Not that they do not want to strike but in this present climate with everyone frightened of losing there jobs people are very cautious.” – Tracy Kenny