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Union consults over pay “snub” strike

16 April 2014

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More than 100,000 healthcare professionals are being consulted over strike action for what has been described as a “contemptuous” pay offer. 

Unite members will be consulted. Depending on the action, this would proceed to a ballot for strike action and industrial action short of a strike. 

The consultation is expected to take place next month. 

Following the announcement on pay in March, Unite said it had “never had such angry feedback” from members. 

The pay announcement meant 600,000 NHS employees received no cost of living rise on 1 April 2014.

Unite head of health Rachael Maskell said: “Unite will be consulting its membership on whether they wish to proceed to an industrial action ballot, including strike action, over the insulting pay offer.

“Unite will be liaising with other health unions and professional associations in driving home the message that health service staff have had their fill of being treated with contempt by health secretary Jeremy Hunt. Enough is enough.” 

The rejected the suggestion of a 1% pay rise for all NHS workers by the independent pay review body. 

Instead, 55% of the workforce will have to rely on an annual incremental increase. 

Dean Royles, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, said: “The decision to ballot for industrial action at a union conference is no surprise. They will want to show their displeasure but my simple, honest ask is that they don’t take that displeasure and frustration out on patients. People accessing healthcare are often at their most vulnerable and the very prospect of strikes when they should be receiving care will be deeply distressing for many. 

“Given these challenging times across the economy, I would urge unions instead to engage with us in meaningful discussions about how to come out of a period of pay restraint in sensible way. Then we can explore solutions affecting the lowest paid and plan for the longer term – not for short term disruption which will affect those in need.”