"OUR WORK is vital to healthcare. Are we supposed to survive on fresh air?" That was the response of one hospital porter to the new three year pay offer to 240,000 ambulance, ancillary, technical, administrative and clerical staff. The health workers' UNISON union called off a ballot for industrial action when these workers were offered a 3 percent pay rise last year. Without consulting members, UNISON leaders claimed that talks could provide a new, better pay structure. The new offer provides only: year one April 1999-April 2000 - 3 percent or 250, whichever is the greater; year two - 3.25 percent or 300, whichever is greater; year three - 0.5 percent above the underlying rate of inflation. UNISON is now to consult members on the offer. Health workers will have to fight for union officials to call meetings over the deal and to urge rejection.