National ballot starts for NHS staff on strike action

NHS workers from across 1066 Country will get the opportunity to vote for strike action this week.

Ballot papers started dropping through the doors on August 28. Nurses, paramedics, therapists, cooks, cleaners and healthcare assistants are among those voting in the dispute.

Members of Unison have been putting pressure on the Government after it decided to ignore the independent NHS Pay Review Body recommendation to award a one per cent pay rise to all NHS staff. The union said instead 60 per cent of NHS staff, including 70 per cent of nurses, have been denied a pay award this year.

Tony Jones, Unison’s south east regional head of health, said: “We all know the NHS relies on the goodwill of its staff. NHS workers have been badly hit by the rise in the cost of living and the Government’s move is unfair and deliberately provocative. The Government has gone too far; Unison is balloting NHS workers and giving them the opportunity to make their voices heard and turn their anger into action.

“Voting for strike action is never an easy decision – even more so for NHS workers who spend their lives caring for people. But the Government’s refusal to give the vast majority any pay increase this year is a slap in the face.

“Staff are on average 10 per cent worse off than when the Coalition came to power and this means their families are suffering and morale is hitting rock bottom. A well-motivated workforce saves lives so we need to cherish and support our NHS staff who work day in day out caring for others.”

A total of 350,000 ballot papers in total have been sent to NHS workers across the country. Unison’s ballot will close on September 18.