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Unison members join RCN colleagues in rejecting 3% pay rise

Overwhelming opposition will prompt further Unison ballot on industrial action
A nurse holds a placard during a demonstration in London in July

Overwhelming opposition will prompt further Unison ballot on industrial action

Nurses and other healthcare members of Unison in England have voted overwhelmingly to oppose the 3% pay rise recommended by the NHS pay review body and approved by the government.

The union will now launch an indicative ballot to see how many health members would be prepared to take sustained and widespread industrial action, after four out of five members (80%) who responded to its initial ballot said they were unhappy with the pay award.

Staff ‘fed up with being taken for granted’

Unison had called for a pay rise of at least £2,000 for

Overwhelming opposition will prompt further Unison ballot on industrial action

A nurse holds a placard during a demonstration in London in July
Nurses protest in London in July as part of the RCN's fair pay campaign Picture: Alamy

Nurses and other healthcare members of Unison in England have voted overwhelmingly to oppose the 3% pay rise recommended by the NHS pay review body and approved by the government.

The union will now launch an indicative ballot to see how many health members would be prepared to take sustained and widespread industrial action, after four out of five members (80%) who responded to its initial ballot said they were unhappy with the pay award.

Staff ‘fed up with being taken for granted’

Unison had called for a pay rise of at least £2,000 for individuals on Agenda for Change contracts. It said the 3% increase, which when implemented will be backdated to April, will deliver this for NHS staff earning more than £70,000 a year, but those on the lowest wages would receive less than £600.

The union said staff including nurses, healthcare assistants, ambulance crews and hospital porters are ‘fed up of being taken for granted’ and may leave for less stressful, better paid jobs elsewhere.

Unison head of health Sara Gorton said: ‘The fact that so many health staff say they are willing to stand together to challenge the 3% should make the government think twice.

‘Unison gave the pay review body and the government compelling evidence that a minimum £2,000 rise would be enough to persuade people to stay. But both chose to disregard this.’

RCN members also rejected 3% rise as unacceptable

The results follow a similar ballot among RCN members in England and Wales, in which more than 90% of members said the pay offer was unacceptable. The RCN had called for a rise of 12.5%. Its trade union committee is considering the ballot results before deciding on what the next steps should be.

A Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson has previously said that NHS staff ‘are rightly receiving a 3% pay rise, following the recommendation of an independent review’, adding: ‘We are seeing record numbers of nurses working in the NHS and applications to study nursing and midwifery have risen by 34% this year alone.’


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