Further strikes planned as NHS pay dispute hots up

Strikers outside St Richards Hospital at the end of last year

Strikers outside St Richards Hospital at the end of last year

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NHS workers and ambulance staff across the south east are set to stage further strikes over pay.

Next Thursday, January 29, Unison members will be on strike for 12 hours from 9am to 9pm while ambulance staff are set to join picket lines that day from noon to midnight.

NHS staff at Unison strike outside the PRH Haywards Heath. Pic Steve Robards SUS-141013-104518001

NHS staff at Unison strike outside the PRH Haywards Heath. Pic Steve Robards SUS-141013-104518001

Between Friday, January 30 and Tuesday, February 24, staff will also only work their contracted hours, take their breaks and not do unpaid overtime.

This will be followed a 24-hour strike on Wednesday, February 25.

Tony Jones, Unison south east regional head of health said: “We warned months ago that this dispute is here to stay unless the government and NHS employers are prepared to negotiate with us.

“We decided not to take strike action over the Christmas period as services were already at breaking point at this time.

“Our members are demonstrating their concern for patient safety. I only wish the employers and government would do the same.

“Instead they are being completely irresponsible by refusing to have meaningful negotiations on how we resolve this dispute. And they are putting patients’ lives at risk.”

Unison members along with workers from 11 other trade unions have already staged two four-hour strikes in October and November. This latest round of action is in protest at the government’s decision to reject the 1 per cent pay rise for NHS staff, as recommended by the independent Pay Review Body in 2014.”

“Our members’ pay has been frozen or held down for the past five years and there is no end in sight,” Mr Jones said.

“On average, they have lost around 10 per cent in the value of their pay over the life of this parliament.

“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.

“NHS staffs have been singled out by this coalition government for the worst treatment across the public sector.

“Other groups will get their recommended pay increases – for MPs this is 11 per cent.”

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