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Unions announce fresh wave of strikes

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More strikes announced More strikes announced

Unison, Unite and the RCM have announced that their healthcare members will strike for 12 hours on 29 January 2015.

This will be followed by working to rule until 25 February, when there will be a 24-hour strike.

Christina McAnea, UNISON's head of health, said: 'We now have no option but to escalate and plan for longer strikes. The anger among health workers has reached levels where they are now ready to walk out for 24 hours.'

The actions are the latest in a series of strikes by NHS workers angered by the pay freeze. Unions previously staged four-hour strikes in October and November. A spokesperson for the RCM said: 'The dispute is not with mothers and their families but with employers and this senseless, politically inspired decision to deny NHS staff a fair deal. The RCM calls on employers and Jeremy Hunt to see sense and to enter into urgent negotiations aimed at a settlement of this dispute which otherwise will continue.'

Explaining the timing of the strike, Rachael Maskell, Unite's head of health, said: 'Patient safety is our members' number one priority which is why they won't be taking action over the Christmas and new year period. But the government's continued refusal to negotiate on pay has left NHS staff with no option but to step up their fight with more strike action in the new year.'

The government is yet to respond to the strikes or engage in discussion with the unions. Unions have previously mentioned that the strikes will continue until this happens. Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham, told IN that the government decision on NHS workers pay was 'provocative'.

Staff in Scotland and Wales will not go on strike, as they received the one per cent pay increase recommended by the NHS Pay Review Body. Unite members in Northern Ireland will take part in the strike.

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