UNISON’s NHS workers in Wales have voted overwhelmingly to take strike action over this year’s pay offer, in a formal ballot that closed today.
Nurses, occupational therapists, porters, paramedics, medical secretaries, cooks and healthcare assistants were among those balloted in response to the decision by the Welsh health minister to ignore the NHS Pay Review recommendations for a 1% pay rise.
Instead, a one-off non-consolidated payment of £160 was offered to all staff. However because the award is non-consolidated it will not count towards pension entitlements or shift pay and will not occur in future years.
The result follows last week’s industrial action by UNISON’s NHS members in England, who staged a four-hour strike on Monday followed by action short of strike action for the remainder of the week.
The result of the ballot is as follows:
Are you prepared to take part in a strike?
Are you prepared to take part in action short of strike action?
UNISON Regional Secretary in Wales Margaret Thomas said:
“Our members working in the Welsh NHS have sent a clear message that they are worth more than a miserly £160.
“Health workers have seen their pay drop by as much as 10% since 2010, and yet these same workers subsidise health services every week by working thousands of hours of unpaid overtime.
“Of course we want to continue to negotiate with the Welsh government to come to a decent and fair pay deal for our members.
“But NHS workers in Wales have spoken loud and clear that they are not prepared to continue to plug the financial gap in the Welsh NHS through pay restraint.
“UNISON’s health committee will consider the ballot result and their response later this week.
“We will be having discussions about how any potential action in Wales could be co-ordinated with future action taken on pay in England.”
Number of votes cast: 5,715
Number answering “yes” to “are you prepared to take part in a strike?”: 4,285
Number answering “no” to “are you prepared to take part in a strike?”: 1,275
Number of spoiled voting papers: 155
Number answering “yes” to “are you prepared to take part in action short of a strike?”: 4,834
Number answering “no” to “are you prepared to take part in action short of a strike?” : 516
Number of spoiled voting papers: 365