NHS staff give 'green light' to pension strike action
NHS staff have "overwhelming" voted in favour of strike action over public sector pension reforms, giving the "green light" to the TUC's Day of Action at the end of this month.
Union Unison's ballot saw 70% of members vote to support a mass walkout on the 30 November.
Among the NHS employees, 82% voted in favour of industrial action – although the turnout was low at 25%.
"[Yesterday's (3 November)] Yes vote signals the green light for the first day of strike action, and we will be joining with other unions in the TUC co-ordinated day of action on November 30th," said Dave Prentis, General Secretary of Unison.
Prentis acknowledged the "significant movement" made by the government earlier this week but claimed at this stage there is only a "theoretical pension scheme" that is yet to be translated into a firm offer.
He said it now up to government ministers and employers‚ to "get down to work and come up with firm offers that we can put to our members."
Dean Royles, director of the NHS Employers organisation, has called Unison's yes-vote "disappointing" and said the low turnout reflected NHS staff's reluctance to "withdraw their labour".
He has urged all sides to "keep talking" in light of the low turnout, deeming it "premature" to consider industrial action at this point.
"I think the NHS Staff are in a dilemma. They want to strike and get theirvoices heard; but they are thinking of the effect on the patients; the NHSis so short staffed and also they are afraid of their managers" - Hilda Singh, Enfield
"I think people are being too complacent. I am disappointed that the RCNare not balloting on this" - Teresa M, Manchester
"I think the low turn out of votes reflect the apathy that this governmenthas created in the NHS, leaving staff feeling defranchised and in fearof loss of employment" - Sheila Grundy, Manchester