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NHS workers to ballot for strike action over pay

GMB is to ballot members working in the NHS for strike action over pay, the union said today, demanding that the government improve on its offer of a 3 per cent rise.

The current proposal is is below the rate of inflation and so amounts to a pay cut in real terms, the union said.

Tens of thousands of GMB members in the NHS are eligible to vote on the call for strike action and more than 90 per cent have rejected the government’s offer. 

GMB, along with other unions in the health service, has consistently pressed for an increase of 15 per cent or £2 per hour, whichever is highest, to replace what has been lost from NHS pay packets over the last decade.

The industrial action ballot opens on November 10 and closes on December 15. If strikes go ahead, they will take place in the new year. 

GMB national officer Rachel Harrison said: “After their heroic efforts during the pandemic, NHS workers are now being asked to swallow this miserable pay cut. 

“A 3 per cent pay offer does not restore a decade of real-terms pay cuts, doesn’t recognise their Covid efforts, is below inflation and will not cover the proposed increase in National Insurance and pensions contributions. 

“The NHS is facing a staffing crisis and is creaking under the pressure of the pandemic. 

“A pay award like this is a slap in the face for all health workers and is not the way to fix things.”

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “NHS staff – from doctors and nurses to paramedics and porters – are rightly receiving a 3 per cent pay rise this year in recognition of their extraordinary efforts throughout this global pandemic.

“This follows the recommendations of the independent NHS Pay Review Body and the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration, who considered a wide range of evidence from organisations across government, the NHS and trade unions in making the decision.”

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