In a record turnout for health members in UNISON, over 150,000 members voted in a consultation on the new NHS pay offer, with 74% of these voting to accept.
That means over 112,000 members working in every part of the NHS voted to accept, put cash in their pockets and give certainty about pay for the next year.
- 74% voted Yes, to accept the offer
- 26% voted No, to reject the offer
- 53% turnout, with 152,329 votes cast
The vote comes after months of strike action across the country by UNISON members, whose courage and determination to repeatedly join picket lines has demonstrated a simple fact – industrial action works.
Their decisive action forced the ministers to the table and allowed negotiators the opportunity to squeeze extra money out of the government. The resulting offer amounts to a doubling of the cash value of the pay award in 2022, as well as permanently increasing pay by 5% for this year.
The dispute has sent a stark warning to the government that it must drastically alter its approach to the recruitment and retention crisis. It has also shown that ignoring NHS staff for months on end, refusing to discuss their pay and failing to address their serious concerns about the impact on patient care won’t make the issues go away.
Many of the other unions that joined UNISON in pay talks with the government are still in the process of consulting their members. UNISON is due to meet with the joint unions on 2 May to declare the union’s position, hear what other union members across the NHS have decided, and deliver an answer to the government.
Until then, it won’t be known whether the offer will be jointly accepted, and so there is no indication about how or when the lump sum and pay rise would be implemented.
The results of the consultation also come just before UNISON’s annual health conference which opens in Bournemouth on Monday. There, delegates will debate the next steps in NHS pay and set the union’s priorities and agenda for the coming year.