7 in 10 say yes to a vote in overwhelming rejection of pay-cutting deal

A strike among NHS workers in Wales could be on the cards as leading union, Unite, confirms today (Friday) that it will begin the formal process of balloting its members on industrial action. 

The move follows the results of a consultative ballot in which Unite’s NHS Wales members voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action in what the union says is `an emphatic rejection’ of the recently imposed pay deal.

70 per cent of Unite NHS Wales members voted for strike action with 89 per cent voting for action short of a strike. Turnout in this ballot exceeded that of all previous ballots, which Unite say illustrates the immense strength of feeling among NHS Wales workers.

The NHS Wales pay award, implemented earlier this month, was below inflation for all staff, including the lowest paid. At a time of rocketing costs, most staff received a little over £100 per month in their pay packet, an around £1,400 increase to their salaries.

Unite regional secretary Peter Hughes said: “Our NHS Wales members have sent a strong message; they have absolutely had enough. Year on year they work harder, in ever-tougher circumstances, while their pay is eroded. 

“This is an emphatic rejection of a pay deal that simply fails to keep pace with rocketing living costs. The UK and Welsh governments must act.  Fund a fair pay increase that recognises the value of our Welsh NHS workers because Unite will be backing our members all the way in their fight for a decent wage.”

Following years of below inflation pay increases for NHS Wales workers, there is also the additional cost of forthcoming pension contribution increases for some staff.

Richard Munn, Unite lead health officer in Wales added: “Our members have made their views on pay very clear. Our NHS workforce is crucial yet they continue to be undervalued, with more and more of them worrying about how to make ends meet.

“Much of the blame can be apportioned to the Conservative Government in Westminster, however Wales is a devolved nation. The Welsh Government has a key role to play in finding a solution that will hopefully avert an NHS strike”. 

Unite’s ballot is due to start in mid-October and conclude mid-November. 


Notes to editors:

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The General Secretary is Sharon Graham.