Guys and St Thomas’ NHS staff deliver resounding vote for strike action over pay
- Thursday 23 March 2023
Crisis loans and second jobs needed for staff to get by
800 staff poised for strike should government’s pay offer be rejected
More than 800 staff at Guys and St Thomas’ hospital in Central London could take strike action over pay after a successful industrial action ballot, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said today (Thursday).
The workers, who include nurses, pharmacists, estates staff and medical technicians, returned a ‘resounding’ 92 per cent vote in favour of strike action.
Such is the struggle for NHS staff at the hospital to make ends meet, Unite is involved in arranging crisis loans for workers.
Strike action by Unite’s NHS members is currently paused as a consultation on the government’s recent offer gets underway (see notes to editors).
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This resounding vote for strike action at Guys and St Thomas’ hospital is a stark reminder that NHS workers remain rightly angry at low pay and crisis-level staffing which is risking patients’ lives.
“Make no mistake, should the government’s pay offer be rejected, strikes will follow – and Unite will be backing our members 100 per cent.”
Unite has called for any NHS pay deal to be funded with no impact on patient services but ministers have failed to confirm that there will be new money.
Unite lead national officer Onay Kasab said: “Were it not for the strike action by Unite’s NHS members and the public’s superb support, ministers would have allowed this crisis to further engulf our NHS.
“Trust in government is already through the floor and emerging questions over how ministers’ deal will be funded are simply adding to our members’ concerns.”
Unite branch chair of Guys and Thomas’, Vanessa Williams-Herrington, said: “Our members did not take balloting for strike action lightly. We all take the care of our patients extremely seriously.
“However, the reality is our own welfare is now suffering. I’ve had to arrange for hardworking staff to access food banks and crisis loans.
“Staff cannot pay their bills. They’re working ridiculous amounts of overtime as bank staff or taking second jobs, just to make ends meet. This government is driving dedicated staff to exhaustion, or to leave the NHS altogether.”
Notes to editors:
Unite’s ballot of its NHS members will shortly get underway. Unite is making no recommendation on the government’s offer to its members, who will make the final decision on whether to accept or reject.
Should the offer be rejected, strikes at Guys and St Thomas will be scheduled.
Unite also has strike mandates at five ambulance trusts and numerous other NHS workplaces, with a number of ballots still ongoing.
For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215.
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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.