Members of the largest health workers’ union, Unison, have voted by two thirds to accept a pay offer put to them after union leaders wrongly called off strikes last month. The turnout was 17 percent.
The Royal College of Midwives, Society of Radiographers and the GMB union have also voted by large margins to accept the new offer.
The strikes against the Tories’ last measly 1 percent offer were about more than pay and showed the real alternative to austerity.
Unison union national and health executive member Karen Reissmann told Socialist Worker in a personal capacity, “Members’ acceptance of the deal is partly because documents that went out were misleading.
“They didn’t explain that many will be worse off than under the deal that we struck against.” With a lead NHS workers could have beaten back the Tories’ attacks on pay. The strikes also had wide public support.
News of the ballot results came after plans to give councils in Greater Manchester full control of
£6 billion of NHS and social care funding emerged last week. Tory chancellor George Osborne claimed it is part of building a “northern powerhouse”.
Karen said, “This is about institutionalising cuts and privatisation in health and social care. Merging two chronically underfunded services isn’t going to solve the problem.”
Labour’s shadow health secretary Andy Burnham “applauded” Labour council bosses for getting a deal out of Osborne, but said he wouldn’t have offered the deal. Devolution will not protect public services, but will devolve the axe while the next government slashes funding.
But Karen said, “There’s still a real mood to fight for the NHS—we need to get behind and organise the local campaigns.”