Government’s NHS wage refusal sparks ‘historic’ indust...

Government’s NHS wage refusal sparks ‘historic’ industrial action

12 October 2014

Members of Britain’s largest union Unite will be joining an historic walkout by dedicated NHS workers across England tomorrow (Monday 13 October), as anger deepens over the government’s refusal to implement its own pay review body’s recommendation for a one per cent pay rise. 

With many professions taking action for the first time ever, the union warned the government that it was alienating huge swathes of the NHS’s 1.4 million workforce by a continued refusal to negotiate. A move it says could cost it dear at next year’s general election.

Monday’s walkout from 07:00–11:00 sees tens of thousands of Unite members striking and joining picket lines alongside colleagues from the GMB, Unison, Ucatt and the Royal College of Midwives (RCM). The stoppage marks the start of a month long work to rule with members adhering to their contracted hours and ambulance staff imposing an overtime ban. 

Pressure is now mounting on the government to offer NHS staff a better pay deal after local government workers began being consulted on an improved offer that sees some of the lowest paid receiving pay rises of up to £1,065 a year.

Action will take place across the country, view a full list of 100 joint union picket lines [PDF].  

Rachael Maskell, Unite head of health, said: “This is a double first in the dreadful mistreatment of our NHS by this government. This is the first time an independent pay review body has been dismissed and the first time core NHS professions have been so desperate that they will walk off hospital wards.

“It is quite clear that whatever warm words the prime minister mouths about our NHS that he and his health secretary are not prepared to offer the workforce a fair deal on pay.

“Instead they show disgraceful contempt for a dedicated workforce who have lost up to 15 per cent in pay since 2010 and face being denied a one per cent pay increase this year.

“This industrial action could have been averted, but health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s continued refusal to sit down with health unions to try and find a solution has prompted widespread anger.

“Jeremy Hunt needs to get around the negotiating table otherwise he risks abdicating his responsibility not just to the NHS’s 1.4 million staff, but to the public who value their NHS and expect their government to do so too.”

For further information please contact Unite campaigns officer Chantal Chegrinec on 07774 146 777 or Unite head of media and campaigns Alex Flynn on 07967 665869.
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