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Unions consult members over strike action

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Two of the largest unions in England have raised the possibility of strike action in response to the Government's one per cent pay rise for healthcare workers.

Unite has confirmed that it will consult its 100,000 members in the health service over possible strike action while the topic of NHS pay was debated at Unison's annual health conference in Brighton, this week and many delegates voted in favour of carrying out in industrial action. To kick off the campaign, the union is voting for a day of protest on 5 June, which would include lunchtime demonstrations at workplaces across the country.

Unite will first consult its members and, depending on the outcome ,will proceed to a ballot over strike action. The consultation within the membership is expected to take place next month.

Unite Head of Health, Rachael Maskell, said that the Government's announcement had caused unprecedented uproar from members.

‘Most of our nursing members are community nurses and they have all said that they have worked overtime. We talked to our health visitors and found that they do around a day of week of unpaid work. We are short of 6000 school nurses, so you can imagine how overworked the current workforce is to make up for this.'

‘Our members have said that enough is enough. They are constantly working extra hours and have been given a real-terms pay cut.

‘We hope that the government will intervene before [strike] action takes place. This would be the last resort.'

Unison's Head of Health, Christina McAnea, said: ‘We're not asking members to strike for 1 per cent, we're saying strike for a pay award that starts to restore the value of your pay, fight for a living wage for all, and because a demoralised and demotivated workforce is not good for patients.'

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