NHS staff strike over pay


Thousands of NHS employees, including nurses, midwives and ambulance staff, are taking strike action over the government’s proposed 2014/15 pay awards.

Unison, Unite, GMB, Royal College of Midwives (RCM) and Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT) members working in the NHS will strike on 13 October for four hours.

Staff are protesting about the refusal of a proposed 1% pay rise, which the government has said would cost too much.

It is the first strike action by NHS staff over pay for more than 30 years.

The Royal College of Midwives is also taking strike action for the first time in its history.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “NHS staff are our greatest asset, and we’ve increased the NHS budget to pay for more than 12,500 more clinical staff since 2010.

“We cannot afford a pay rise in addition to increments, which disproportionately reward the highest earners, without risking frontline jobs.”

Christina McAnea, head of health at Unison, said: “The fact that so many unions representing a range of NHS workers are taking action or preparing to join future actions should send a clear message to the government.

“NHS workers work day in day out to provide vital care and support for millions of patients so they deserve fair pay. It’s time NHS employees get a fair deal for the invaluable work they do. The government needs to step back from the brink and reconsider its pay policy urgently.”

Rachael Maskell, head of health at Unite, added: “This is a double first in the mistreatment of our NHS by this government. This is the first time an independent pay review body has been dismissed and the first time core NHS professions have been so desperate that they will walk off hospital wards.

“A dedicated workforce has lost up to 15% in pay since 2010 and face being denied a 1% pay increase this year.

“This industrial action could have been averted, but health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s continued refusal to sit down with health unions to try and find a solution has prompted widespread anger.”