This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Health unions divided over pensions strike

Written by: | Published:

The three largest nursing unions are divided over whether to take further action over proposed changes to public sector pensions.

Unite/CPHVA has rejected the government's revised deal and says up to 100,000 of its NHS members will take part in a 'day of action', including strikes, on 10 May. Neither Unison nor the RCN has called for members to take similar steps.

Unison says it has no mandate to strike after around half of members participating in a ballot voted to accept government proposals. Less than 15 per cent of eligible members voted, with 50.4 per cent opting to reject the government's plans.

A similar ballot by the RCN took place in February, with 62 per cent of respondents voting to reject the government's proposals. Turnout was again poor, at just over 16 per cent.

Last week, the Royal College of Midwives said it had 'reluctantly' accepted the pension plans following a consultation with members.

Negotiations between ministers and union representatives resulted in a revised pension offer in December, which would see nurses earning between £15,000 and £26,557 - and those less than 10 years from retirement - exempted from any rise in pension contributions next year.

Unite's lead nursing officer Barrie Brown conceded that the day of action would benefit from RCN and Unison support, but said it would go ahead regardless.

'More than 94 per cent of our members voted to reject the government's offer, so we feel we have a very strong mandate,' he said. Turnout in the ballot was 25 per cent.

NHS Employers warned that trusts had been given insufficient time to plan for the strike, claiming this would exacerbate disruption and lead to delays in hospital tests and discharges. Director Dean Royles said: 'I recognise the union is disenamoured about pensions but patients must be our first priority.'

Mr Brown claimed Mr Royles had 'painted a very misleading picture'.

'We have held discussions with NHS Employers, and gave notice of our plans several days in advance of the date by which we were required to by law,' he said.

The strike is supported by the Public and Commercial Services union and the University and College Union.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Comments

Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code
 

Most read articles from Practice Nursing Journal

Practice Nursing Journal latest issue and most read articles.

Click here to read a selection of free to access articles from Practice Nursing Journal

Newsletter

Sign up to the newsletter

About

Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.

Archive

Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team

Authors

Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.