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Union plans NHS pay strike ballot

The NHS could be hit by industrial action after the country's biggest union warned it is preparing to ballot 100,000 workers, including nurses, in a row over pay.

Unite, which represents theatre nurses, maintenance staff, pathology employees, health visitors, pharmacists and other staff, said selective action and "rolling disruption" could start in September, just before the Labour Party's annual conference.

The union is the latest to warn of industrial action in the NHS in protest at the government's decision to stagger a 2.5% pay rise recommended by the pay review body.

Unite claims this has reduced the value of the award to 1.9%.

It has now asked for a meeting with Chancellor Gordon Brown to discuss the staging of the pay rise, but has received no response as yet.

The union's head of health Kevin Coyne said: "NHS trusts and the government now face the prospect of industrial action in mid-September.

"Unite's position reflects the view that the integrity of the pay review body should be upheld and maintained by the government, and that it is our job, as a union, to ensure this.

"Our members are doing a great job under very difficult circumstances and they will not accept paltry pay. Nor will they accept the independence of the review body being compromised."

Unison, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives are also warning of industrial action over pay.


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