LONDON, July 18 /PRNewswire/ --
Unite members across the NHS will today (Friday 18th July) send a strong message to government to say: "Cut my pay - No Way!" In a national day of protest NHS staff will be making clear their anger against the derisory three year pay offer of 7.99 per cent. This action will mark the start of the Unite campaign against the imposition of the pay deal, this includes the possibility of Unite balloting its members on industrial action.
Union members are angry that the proposed three year award, worth 2.75 per cent in year one, 2.54 per cent in year two and 2.5 per cent in the third year, represents a significant pay cut in the current economic climate.
The protests are taking place at lunchtime in hospitals across the country after 94.8 per cent of Unite's health sector workers - including health visitors, ambulance staff, hospital pharmacists, health care chaplains and many other healthcare professional and support services - voted to against the pay deal. Unite's 12,000 ancillary and ambulance staff also rejected the pay deal in a separate ballot last month.
Gail Cartmail Unite Assistant General Secretary, said: "Unite members will today protest to tell government; "Cut my pay - No Way!". Staff within the NHS are angry and frustrated that they are effectively being told to take a pay cut by accepting this deal.
"Unite is calling on the government to listen to our members, reopen talks on the three year deal otherwise we predict that this policy will result in massive industrial unrest within the NHS. The union is considering our next steps following a consultation with our members where 75 per cent said they would like to be balloted on industrial action.
"Health service staff are dedicated and hard working, they cannot be expected to pay their rising bills with the government telling them they must accept pay restraints. If this pay deal is imposed on the workforce then services will suffer and we will see a return to the recruitment and retention problems in the NHS that Labour addressed when it first took office."
The national day of protest will include action in: London, Brighton, Norwich, Liverpool, Manchester, Nuneaton, Leeds, Poole, Belfast and Nottingham. Unite members will have t-shirts, flags, hand paddles, stickers and leaflets for the public.
The union will now be looking at the next steps in the campaign against the imposition of the pay deal, this will include a ballot on industrial action for our members in the NHS.
For details of the Unite NHS Day of Protest please visit: http://www.unitetheunion.com/nhsdayofprotest
Notes to Editors
1) Unite is the largest trade union in the UK.
2) Unite represents health sector workers including Health Visitors, Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists, Medical Practitioners Union, Society of Sexual Health Advisors, Hospital Physicists Association, college of Healthcare Chaplains, and the Mental Health Nurses Association - and members in occupations such as allied health professions, health care science, applied psychologists, counsellors and psychotherapists, ambulance staff, the family of dental professions, ambulance staff audiology, optometrists, opticians and building trades, estates, craft and maintenance, porters, caterers and cleaners.
3) Unite members working in the NHS will be available for interview at the lunchtime protests.
4) Rises in living costs include the following:
- Mortgage interest costs have risen by 8% in the year to April 2008
1 - Energy suppliers have increased tariffs by around 15% in recent months 2 - Petrol costs have risen by 18% and public transport fares by 4.5% 3 - Food costs have risen by an average of almost 7%, with many staples increasing by a higher figure (e.g. milk 13.5%, eggs 33% and bread 13%).
For more information please contact Saba Mozakka, Unite press office on: +44(0)20-7420-8916 or +44(0)7768-693-953.