LONDON, November 12 /PRNewswire/ --

- Fight Against 'Derisory' Pay Award Vindicated, Says Union

Health sector members of Unite the Union have voted to take industrial action, including strike action, over the 'derisory' three-year NHS pay deal, the union said today (Wednesday, 12 November).

A joint meeting of Unite's Health Sector National Industrial Committee on Friday, (14 November) - attended by representatives from both the Amicus and TGWU sections - will agree the form that the action will take.

Members voted by 76% to 23% to take part in industrial action short of a strike. There was a 53% vote in favour of strike action, with 45% against.

Unite said the action would start before Christmas, but that the welfare of patients and clients would be paramount.

Unite's Joint General Secretary, Derek Simpson said: 'The government's stated aim of controlling inflation with public sector pay restraint was just wrong before. After the economic meltdown, it is completely ludicrous. Pay cuts will only make recession longer and deeper. It's time for the government to reconsider its policy on NHS pay.'

Unite's National Officer for Health, David Fleming said: 'The stand that our members have taken against the derisory three-year pay deal imposed by ministers has been vindicated.'

David Fleming said: 'Our members were appalled and angry at the 7.99% three-year pay deal imposed by the government in the spring. Inflation has now broken through the 5% barrier and their household bills are increasing on an almost daily basis.'

'They were also upset that the government undermined the independence of the Pay Review Body by imposing its own settlement.'

'The door is still open for the government to re-open negotiations on pay before any action commences and our members would welcome such an initiative. And ministers should cease using the argument that public sector pay fuels inflation which has been discredited by most reputable economists.'

'Whatever action our members take, emergency cover will be maintained at all times and the welfare of patients and clients will remain paramount.'

NOTES TO NEWS EDITORS: - The small discrepancy in the percentages not adding up to 100% is made up of spoilt ballot papers. - Unite's policy is to defend and strengthen the independence of the Pay Review Body (PRB) to arbitrate pay on an annual basis. The PRB recommended a 2.75% pay award for this year, 2008/9. The government, subsequently, imposed the three-year deal worth in total 7.99%.

For further information, please ring: Karen Reay, National Officer, Health, Unite +44(0)7798-531-004; David Fleming, National Officer, Health, Unite +44(0)7798-531013; Shaun Noble, Communications Officer, +44(0)20-7420-8951 (direct line), +44(0)7768-693-940 (mobile)