The nation’s health workers will step up their fight over NHS pay with an escalation in strike action Unite the Union have confirmed.
Two days of strike action on 29 January and 24 February 2015 will see tens of thousands of NHS staff, members of the country’s leading health unions, walk out for 12 hours and 24 hours respectively over the government’s continued refusal to award a one per cent pay rise to all NHS staff as recommended by the NHS pay review body.
The unions will also be escalating the action short of a strike with members working to rule and taking their full breaks for a longer period.
The action marks a significant escalation in the ongoing pay dispute which has seen NHS staff in England and Northern Ireland take part in two four-hour strikes last October and November. This included union members in Bridlington who protested outside Bridlington Hospital.
Unite, which has 100,000 members in the health service, has warned the government that it is alienating huge swathes of the 1.4 million strong NHS workforce by a continued refusal to negotiate on pay.
Rachael Maskell, Unite 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 nation’s 1.4 million NHS staff have seen their incomes shrink by 15 per cent since the coalition came to power in 2010. The government has stretched the goodwill of NHS staff to breaking point.
“Four and a half years of the government’s squeeze on NHS wages led staff to walk out for the first time in more than 30 years over pay in October and again in November. Both actions were strongly supported by the public and we believe that support will continue in the months ahead.
“The way that this government has attacked NHS pay, cut and privatised the service and is now denying NHS staff a miserly one per cent pay rise shows utter contempt for hardworking NHS staff.
“Unless Jeremy Hunt urgently establishes proper pay talks for the nation’s nurses, therapists, scientists and support staff, they’ll be forced to escalate their industrial action until the general election.”