UNISON calls on NHS staff to protest over pay

UNISON, the UK’s biggest public sector trade union with more than 1.3 million members, is calling on all healthcare workers, including nurses, paramedics, porters, cleaners, cooks, therapists and healthcare assistants to hold official protests on Thursday June 5 as part of their campaign for fair pay in the NHS.

The protests will take place outside hospitals and other workplaces around the country over an offer that denies 60 per cent of NHS workers a pay rise. A massive 70 per cent of nurses will not get a pay rise.

In calling the day of action, UNISON has condemned the Government’s decision to give a derisory one per cent non-consolidated increase only to NHS staff at the top of their pay scale.

It says the protests will highlight the dire state of NHS pay and the devastating impact of cuts to NHS budgets under the coalition.

Christina McAnea, UNISON’s Head of Health, said: “We are calling on our 400,000 members working in the health service to publicly protest against the unacceptable pay offer from the Government.

“We are the largest health union, and we take the responsibility that comes with that, very seriously. Members don’t take action often or easily, but this time it feels that we have no choice.

“We want to use this day to build support for a resounding yes vote when we ballot for strike action.

“Our members in the NHS tell us they are demoralised, overworked and undervalued. And we also know that a demotivated workforce is bad for patients. Pay in the NHS has been effectively cut by 10% since the coalition came to power.

“Our members are among those hit hard by the state of the economy, the rise in the cost of food and fuel, coupled with housing and benefit cuts.

“It is a national disgrace that working people have to rely on benefits, food banks or resort to payday loans at exorbitant interest rates to make ends meet.”