PUBLIC sector workers are set to stage yet another strike in worsening disputes over pay – this time joined by health staff.
Unison has announced that its members in England will walk out for four hours on October 13, followed by four days of other forms of industrial action, after the Government refused to accept a recommended one per cent pay rise for NHS workers.
Several unions are balloting health workers - including midwives - for industrial action, with more expected to join in on the day.
The Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union also announced that a quarter of a million civil servants will strike on October 15 in a separate row over pay, jobs and spending cuts.
Council workers are stopping work on October 14, while a national demonstration will be organised by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) on October 18 under the banner “Britain Needs A Pay Rise”.
Unison said its NHS members in England will stage a four-hour stoppage between 7am and 11am on October 13, followed by four days of action short of strikes when members will stop working through their breaks.
Unison members voted by 68 per cent for strikes and 88 per cent for action short of strike action in a ballot.
General secretary of Unison, Dave Prentis, said: “NHS members don’t take action often or lightly. For many of our members, this will be the first time they walk out as the last action over pay was 32 years ago.
“The NHS runs on the goodwill of its workers, but this Government has shown utter contempt for them.
“We are working with NHS employers to minimise the impact on patients. But it’s not too late for Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, to act to avoid this and we repeat our offer to the Government to negotiate with us, despite him refusing to meet with health unions about pay.”
The PCS said that since 2010, taking into account pay cuts, the increase in monthly pension contributions and inflation, many civil servants have suffered a 20 per cent reduction in their incomes.
A Department of Health spokesman said: “We are disappointed that Unison is planning industrial action and has rejected our proposals to give NHS staff at least 1 per cent additional pay this year and at least a further 1 per cent next year.
“NHS staff are our greatest asset and we know they are working extremely hard.”