NHS staff could be latest public sector workers to strike as more than a third threaten walkout this winter

Unite is demanding a real-terms pay hike, arguing the Treasury could afford an increase of at least 10 percent

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The NHS could see more than a third of its staff walk out over pay this winter, making it the latest public service employer to see workers strike this year.

Trade union Unite, which represents cleaners and porters in the health service, has started balloting its 100,000 members, arguing the four percent pay increase that’s been offered is “miserable”.

General Secretary of Unite, Sharon Graham, has claimed the offer is in effect a real-terms pay cut, as inflation continue to soar way above the proposed pay hike.

She said: “This offer is nothing other than a massive national pay cut for NHS staff.

NHS worker walking through a hospital ward.
NHS worker walking through a hospital ward.

“After everything they have been through with the Covid pandemic and the service this workforce gives this country day in, day out, this is a kick in the teeth from the government and an insult to staff and patients alike.”

This comes amid a wave of industrial action from public sector workers.

Rail workers of the RMT and ASLEF have already been on strike over pay and conditions this year, causing nationwide disruption to the transport network.

Jack Jones House, Liverpool.
Jack Jones House, Liverpool.

Royal Mail staff are due to walkout over four days in August and September, after the the Communication Workers Union confirmed 115,000 would down tools, also over pay.

The NHS strike action is likely to take place towards the end of 2022 or the start of 2023, if it’s approved by union members.

Unite is demanding a real-terms pay increase, asserting that the Treasury can afford an increase of at least 10 percent.

The ballot of members will close on September 11 in England and five days later in Wales.

Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe, Unite’s national officer for the NHS, said: “For the Government to demand that even this insulting pay offer is funded through existing NHS money is an appalling, irresponsible move.

“The health service is already at breaking point and needs urgent investment to stave off collapse, but we also need to reward staff properly. There are already 40,000 vacancies across the NHS. This dreadful pay offer will only make it far harder to recruit and retain staff.”