NHS pay warning – step back from the brink

UNISON, the union representing 450,000 health workers, is today calling on Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to step back from the brink of industrial action across the NHS, for the sake of patients and staff.
UNISON’s senior health activists met yesterday and agreed an emergency motion calling for a ballot for industrial action over the Government’s decision to ignore the Pay Review Body’s recommendations and only give a 1% increase to staff not entitled to an increment.  The decision means that 70% of nurses will not get a pay rise this year.  The union is due to debate pay on Tuesday 15 April at its annual Health Conference in Brighton.
In a strongly worded letter to the Health Secretary, Christina McAnea, UNISON Head of Health, warned that:
“Your decision to ignore the PRB, to deny any increase to two thirds of healthcare workers and your failure to make the NHS a Living Wage employer, means that NHS staff feel they have been treated unfairly and with contempt.
“UNISON’s health conference meets in Brighton 14-16 April 2014.  A motion will be put to the floor, calling on the union to initiate a national challenge to your pay policy.  Our members care deeply about their patients and the services in which theywork and do not consider or take formal industrial action lightly.  In my view, the decision from our health executive yesterday represents a significant step towards a summer and indeed winter of unrest for the NHS.
In the interests of all those who use and rely on the National Health Service and of our members and their families, I am urging you to pull back from the brink and reconsider your position before the pay policy is implemented in May, to avoid a year of potential disruption and unrest.”
The letter goes on to call for a meeting between Jeremy Hunt and UNISON Chief Dave Prentis and Christina McAnea.

Read the letter