Commenting on the pay offer today (Friday) from the Welsh government offering NHS workers an additional 3% this year, UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said:
“This ramps up the pressure on the prime minister significantly. Political leaders in Scotland and now in Wales are making the Westminster government look decidedly mean and totally out of touch.
“Rishi Sunak says he’d love to give health workers a pay rise yet claims he can’t. But he can and he should. If he doesn’t, NHS strikes will continue across England for months.
“Staff and patients in England deserve much better treatment from a prime minister who insists the NHS is one of his top priorities.
“Both Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford have chosen to do more for their NHS staff this year. The prime minister should stop with the lame excuses and follow the lead of Holyrood and the Senedd.
“Rishi Sunak must now invite health unions in for genuine pay talks. Other UK governments have shown it’s possible to invest in the NHS workforce. It’s high time this happened in England too.”
Notes to editors:
– UNISON’s health committee will now meet to discuss the Welsh government’s offer in more detail before putting it out to consultation with its members in the NHS. The re-ballot of staff in the Welsh Ambulance Service will continue and closes on 16 February.
– Next week, there’s only one day (Wednesday) where there won’t be a strike involving NHS workers in England. On Monday Royal College of Nursing (RCN), GMB and Unite members will go on strike, followed by a second day of action from the RCN on Tuesday 7. The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is calling its members out on Thursday, and the day after up to 15,000 UNISON ambulance staff walk out across five ambulance services in England.
– UNISON is also re-balloting workers at the remaining five ambulance services in England (South East Coast, South Central, East of England, West Midlands and East Midlands) as well as in the Welsh Ambulance Service. This vote began on 6 January and ends 16 February. Also being re-balloted are UNISON members at NHS Blood and Transplant, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool Women’s Hospital and the North West-based Bridgewater Community Trust.
– UNISON ambulance workers took strike action on 21 December, and again on 11 and 23 January. Friday 10 February is their fourth day of action. Health workers at two Liverpool trusts (the University Hospitals Trust and the city’s Heart and Chest Hospital) first walked out on 21 December and on 23 January. Staff at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence also went on strike on 17 January.
– UNISON is the UK’s largest union and the largest union in the NHS and in the ambulance sector. It has more than 1.3 million members providing public services – in education, local government, the NHS, police service and energy. They are employed in the public, voluntary and private sectors.