Around 100,000 NHS workers to be balloted for industrial action over ‘miserable’ pay offer

Around 100,000 NHS workers in England and Wales are being balloted for industrial action in protest at a “miserable“ pay offer.

Unite said the 4% increase for staff in middle pay bands announced by the Government last month is a “massive pay cut” because of soaring inflation.

The union will now consult with its 100,000 health members across the NHS in both England and Wales on whether they accept the “imposed deal” or want to challenge it through industrial action, which could mean strikes this winter.

Unite is recommending its members, including health visitors and speech therapists, vote yes to industrial action.

General secretary Sharon Graham (pictured) said: “This offer is nothing other than a massive national pay cut for NHS staff.

“After everything they have been through with the Covid pandemic and the service this workforce gives this country day in, day out, this is a kick in the teeth from the Government and an insult to staff and patients alike.

“This ballot is a chance for our members to have their say, and, whatever they decide, they will have the full backing of their union, Unite.”

In England, the ballot closes on Sunday September 11 .

Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe, Unite’s national officer for the NHS, said: “For the Government to demand that even this insulting pay offer is funded through existing NHS money is an appalling, irresponsible move.

“The health service is already at breaking point and needs urgent investment to stave off collapse, but we also need to reward staff properly. There are already 40,000 vacancies across the NHS. This dreadful pay offer will only make it far harder to recruit and retain staff.”

In Wales, the ballot closes on Friday September 15.

Richard Munn, Unite’s lead officer for the NHS in Wales, said: “Our members working in the NHS in Wales are totally fed up.

“They’ve given everything to help care for people through this extremely testing time, only to be told it is yet another cut to their pay.

“We understand the constraints on Welsh Government in terms of funding but more needs to be done to improve the pay of NHS workers. An improved pay offer is crucial to acknowledge what our members do, and to both recruit and retain staff.”

The Royal College of Nursing is also balloting its members for strikes over pay.

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