Healthcare staff including nurses at a further nine NHS organisations have voted to strike as the ongoing pay dispute with the Government continues to widen.
In a reballot of Unison members, five NHS employers and four ambulance services, including NHS Blood and Transplant, hit the legal threshold for industrial action and gained a mandate to strike.
The reballot, which took place on 6 January, and the results announced today, took place at 10 organisations that narrowly missed the threshold for legal strike action during the first ballot in November 2022. This will mean that an additional 12,000 Unison members can now join their colleagues at the picket line.
NHS Blood and Transplant and Great Ormond Street Hospital, the Tavistock and Portman, Liverpool Women’s and the Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS foundation trusts will now join other Unison Members on strikes if further dates are announced f the pay dispute is not resolved.
Unison’s general secretary Christina McAnea said that healthcare workers in England had been ‘met with a wall of silence from Number Ten. The Prime Minister stubbornly refuses to talk about pay, preferring to subject everyone to months of disruption.’
Since the dispute over pay and staffing began, Unison members have taken strike action on four occasions, in December, January, and February.
This comes after the Scottish and Welsh Governments successfully delayed strike action from healthcare unions and the Royal College of Nurses with an updated pay offer for the 2022-23 period. This was then followed by an offer of a further increase to pay for 2023-24 in Scotland.
Ms McAnea said: ‘It’s time the prime minister ditched his ‘do nothing’ strategy for dealing with escalating strikes across the NHS.
‘Governments in other parts of the UK know what it takes to resolve disputes. Ministers in Scotland and Wales are talking to health unions and acting to boost pay for NHS staff this year.
‘Health workers in Scotland have had a bigger pay rise this year and are set to get a decent wage increase in April following their government’s latest offer.’
Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said in a statement: ‘Strikes are in nobody’s best interests and only cause further disruption for patients, despite contingency measures in place.
‘It is time unions engaged constructively with the Pay Review Body process for 2023/24 and cancelled strikes so we can move forward and continue tackling the Covid backlog.
‘I’ve been clear throughout that I remain keen to keep talking to unions about what is fair and affordable for the coming financial year, as well as wider concerns around conditions and workload so we can make the NHS a better place to work.’