LONDON, December 2 /PRNewswire/ --

- Fair Pay Rise Would Boost Consumer Spending

Members of Unite, the largest union in the country, are holding a 'work to rule' day of action tomorrow (Wednesday, 3 December) over the 'derisory' three-year NHS pay deal.

And as Unite members take action in hospitals and health centres throughout the UK, the union argues that giving public sector workers, including NHS staff, a fair pay rise would also have the added benefit of boosting consumer spending power in the High Street - and would cost a fraction of the billions earmarked to bail-out irresponsible bank bosses.

Unite's Joint General Secretary, Derek Simpson said: 'I am pressing for an urgent meeting with Gordon Brown where I will raise the whole sorry saga of the government's negative attitude to public sector pay, with particular reference to our NHS members.'

Members are taking action in a bid to get the government to restart negotiations over the pay deal which is below the current rate of inflation and promises two further years of below-inflation pay rises.

The work to rule day of protest will include a ban on non-essential paperwork, email exchanges, attendance at meetings and telephone calls.

Unite's National Officer for Health, David Fleming said: 'The welfare of clients and patients will be paramount and emergency cover maintained. Our members are struggling to keep up with the cost of living. This is the third year that our members have been forced to survive on below inflation pay rises.'

'If the government can find GBP billions to rescue irresponsible banks, then it can find money to give hard working NHS staff a fair rise. Any extra cash in pay packets will have the added benefit of pumping demand into local economies.'

The action follows the result of the national ballot of Unite health sector members when members voted for industrial action, including strike action.

David Fleming said: '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.'

Notes to News Editors:

Details of regional events can be found on under the banner of the Cut my pay, no way campaign

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%.

Unite has 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'

LONDON, December 2 /PRNewswire/ --

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).