Vote to accept pay deal does not override Unite members’ rejection of the government offer

The vote by the NHS staff council to accept the government’s pay deal will not stop agreed strikes by Unite health service members going ahead. 

Unite NHS members rejected the government’s pay offer in a consultative ballot by 52 per cent on a turnout of 55 per cent. The consultative ballot result revealed very high figures of rejection for grades mostly in frontline services (see notes to editors). 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s NHS members have spoken and they rejected the deal. Because of this, Unite used its seats on the staff council to also vote against it. In fact, we will be escalating strike action. The staff council vote is not binding on individual unions and therefore the vote will not stop Unite representing the best interests of our members.

“The current offer will not solve the huge issues surrounding understaffing that are destroying the NHS and Unite’s members have their union’s absolute backing in fighting against it. It now time for the government to reopen negotiations. The prime minister needs to stop hiding, step in and solve this dispute.” 

Unite national lead officer Onay Kasab said: “Unite’s members are clear that the offer does not go far enough to stop the recruitment and retention crisis that is collapsing the NHS. In fact, the union’s decision to fight for an offer that does is driving a surge in new members. 

“Fresh strike action will continue to be scheduled, alongside the opening of new industrial action ballots for those NHS workers who want to take a stand against the government’s despicable dismantling of our health service.”


Notes to editors:

In total seven out of 10 ambulance paramedics rejected the government’s pay deal during Unite’s consultative ballot. 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.  

More than 4,000 NHS workers across England who are members of Unite have a mandate for industrial action, with more set to be balloted. Unite members at Guys and St Thomas’ trust in South London, and the Yorkshire Ambulance trust, took strike action yesterday. 

Today, 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 are also on strike. 

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

Email: [email protected]

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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.