LONDON, November 14 /PRNewswire/ --

- Strike Action in New Year on Cards, if Ministers Don't Make Concessions

Unite, the largest union in the country, will hold a 'work to rule' day of action on Wednesday, 3 December over the 'derisory' three-year NHS pay deal, the union announced today (Friday, 14 November).

And if the government doesn't make the 'necessary concessions', Unite will ratchet up the industrial action in January 'up to and including strike action'.

A joint meeting of Unite's Health Sector National Industrial Committee today (Friday, 14 November) - attended by representatives from both the Amicus and TGWU sections - unanimously agreed this programme of industrial action.

This followed the result of the national ballot of Unite health sector members - announced earlier this week - when members voted for industrial action, including strike action.

Unite's Joint General Secretary, Derek Simpson said: 'The government's strategy on the economy doesn't fit with its strategy on public sector pay. Our members voted to take industrial action for the first time and the government should take very serious notice.'

The day of protest will include a ban on non-essential paperwork, email exchanges, attendance at meetings, telephone calls and using personal mobiles. Members will be asked to work to their Agenda for Change pay responsibilities.

Unite's National Officer for Health, David Fleming identified the 'necessary concessions' from ministers as focusing on:

- addressing the pay issue which has seen below inflation pay rises for NHS staff for the last two years

- an understanding that the independence of the Pay Review Body (PRB) will not be 'abused' in future

- an end to 'back-stairs' pay negotiations that affect all NHS staff

- a full-scale review of the government's public sector pay strategy which has 'failed in 2008'.

David Fleming said: 'We will clearly communicate to all our members what the day of action will mean, however the welfare of clients and patients will be paramount and emergency cover maintained.'

'We have a democratic mandate for this action and ministers should hear that our members are very angry at the continued below-inflation pay awards, in effect, pay cuts, and the undermining of the PRB.'


- 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'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)