Unite, the country’s largest union, confirmed today (Tuesday 15 April) that it will be consulting its 100,000 members in the health service over possible strike action over the ‘divide and rule’ pay offer.
Unite will first consult its members and then, depending on the outcome, proceed to a ballot for strike action and industrial action short of a strike. The consultation with the membership is expected to take place next month.
Unite has said that it had never had such angry feedback from its members, following the announcement on pay in March, which meant that 600,000 NHS employees received no cost of living pay rise on 1 April.
Unite head of health Rachael Maskell said: “Unite will be consulting its membership on whether they wish to proceed to an industrial action ballot, including strike action, over the insulting pay offer.
“Unite will be liaising with other health unions and professional associations in driving home the message that health service staff have had their fill of being treated with contempt by health secretary Jeremy Hunt. Enough is enough.”
Unite’s confirmation came as Unison said that it would be balloting its membership for industrial action.
Jeremy Hunt’s decision to reject the recommendation of one per cent for all workers by the independent Pay Review Body meant that only those at the top of their band pay received the one per cent increase.
The remaining 55 per cent of the 1.3 million NHS workforce will have to rely on their annual incremental increase, which is not necessarily guaranteed.
Unite stresses that the incremental increases are in recognition of increased knowledge and skills as staff progress in their careers, with additional performance criteria to be met – and are not part of the annual pay rise process.