Unite members rejected offer by 52% in consultative ballot on a turnout of 55%

Unite NHS members have rejected the government’s pay offer in a consultative ballot that closed today (Friday 28 April). 

The ballot result revealed very high figures of rejection for grades mostly in frontline services with patients. For example, in total seven out of ten ambulance paramedics rejected the deal. Three quarters of staff at the West Midlands Ambulance Trust rejected the deal. Workers at Guys and St Thomas’ rejected the deal by the same figure, while Yorkshire Ambulance Trust staff rejected it by two thirds.  

Strikes by more than 4,000 NHS workers across England who have a mandate for industrial action will now go ahead.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite was clear from the start it was very unlikely this offer would be accepted. It is quite frankly a joke that NHS workers are being forced to fight for a decent pay rise after years of pay freezes and all their sacrifices during the pandemic. The government should be delivering generous rewards for that instead of a parade of insults bullying and lies about our industrial action. Unite will be backing our NHS members 100 per cent.

“Unite’s members will now return to the picket line to continue their fight. Rishi Sunak now needs to take over this mess, roll his sleeves up and sort it. Isn’t that what a prime minister is supposed to do – lead for goodness sake?”

Further, the UK government offer doesn’t even match the higher settlement approved by Unite members in Scotland. For example, under the terms of the current government offer a paramedic on a band 6 in salary in England will earn almost £3,500 less per year than a corresponding worker in Scotland.

Unite national lead officer Onay Kasab said: “It is increasingly clear that there is money to fund a fair pay rise, particularly from properly taxing the huge increases in profits made from the cost of living crisis by corporate profiteers. The government is choosing to let the NHS collapse. It must make the right decision, return to negotiations and put forward a better deal.” 


Notes to editors: 

Unite put the government offer to a ballot of its members without a recommendation to accept it. Unite was the only union directly involved in the negotiations to do this. Unite was not able to recommend the offer because the non-consolidated cash lump sum for 2022/23 is not a pay rise. Also, the five per cent increase for 2023/24 does not come anywhere near to matching the real rate of inflation (RPI), currently at 13.5 per cent. 

Unite members at Guys and St Thomas’ Trust in South London, and the Yorkshire Ambulance Trust, will strike on Monday (1 May). Unite members at South Central, South East Coast and West Midlands ambulance trusts alongside workers at Christies NHS Foundation Trust, Christies Pathology Partnership, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust will strike on Tuesday (2 May).

On Monday 1 May striking NHS workers will take part in a pay protest march from St Thomas’ Hospital to Trafalgar Square. Interviews are available from 1pm outside St Thomas’ on Westminster Bridge Road, SE1.

For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215 or 020 3371 2065.

Email: [email protected]

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Web: unitetheunion.org

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.