Socialist Worker

Tories face strikes in NHS over pay ‘insult’

by Annette Mackin
Issue No. 2398

The Unison union has threatened a year of unrest in the NHS after senior reps agreed to call a strike ballot over pay.

The union represents 450,000 health workers.

It will now hold an emergency vote at its healthcare conference on Wednesday of next week over whether to ballot for strikes.

Workers are furious after Tory health secretary Jeremy Hunt refused to pay a promised pay rise for nurses.

This means 70 percent of nurses will not receive the promised 1 percent increase.

Instead it is being treated as an “additional payment” rather than an actual pay rise. 

This means the increase can’t be included in pension or future percentage pay calculations.

Everyone who receives incremental pay, which rises annually as workers gain skills and experience, will not even receive the 1 percent.

Maria—not her real name—is a health worker at Whipps Cross Hospital in east London. 

She told Socialist Worker, “We’ve had a lot of downbanding, with nurses’ pay being cut to fund the private finance initiative scheme. 

“We’ve also had to pay more into our pension which is like another cut. 

“And now the government have said we won’t even get a pay rise. It’s a double whammy. It is an insult.”

The GMB and Unite unions, which also represent health workers, have said they will consider striking over the pay insult.

Maria said, “The Tories have declared war on us and we have to strike back.”


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