by Tim Lezard Eleven unions representing NHS workers have announced a second wave of strike action. The unions – the British Dietetic Association, British Association of Occupational Therapists, GMB, Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association, Ma …

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by Tim Lezard

Eleven unions representing NHS workers have announced a second wave of strike action.

The unions – the British Dietetic Association, British Association of Occupational Therapists, GMB, Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association, Managers in Partnership, POA, RCM, SoR, UCATT, UNISON and Unite – will stage a four-hour stoppage in the morning of November 24th, followed by working to rule.

Christina McAnea, chair of the NHS trade unions, said: “The next set of industrial action will be even stronger as more unions are joining in.

“Health workers care for patients and their families every day of the year often when they are at their most vulnerable or distressed.

“The NHS depends on the goodwill and commitment of the workforce and this is now at breaking point.

“The government has made no attempt to resolve this dispute and staff have been left with no alternative but to take more industrial action. Jeremy Hunt needs to realise that this dispute is not going away. All we are asking for is fair pay.”

Unite head of health Rachael Maskell said: “It is crystal clear that Jeremy Hunt and his government have pulled down the shutters on talks to improve the ever-eroding incomes of the 1.35 million-strong NHS workforce.

“It is a snub to the dedicated and hardworking health professionals that sustain the NHS day in, day out, 365 days-a-year, as demand for services soar.

“The stonewalling of Hunt has energised our members to build on the industrial action they took earlier this month and to strike for four hours on Monday 24 November.”

Rehana Azam, GMB National Officer for the NHS, said: “For a second week NHS staff will be taking industrial action over pay. We regret having to inconvenience NHS users again, but the intransigence of the government and employers leaves us no choice.

“This dispute arose when the government overruled the independent NHS Pay Review Body which had recommended an across-the-board pay rise. Health workers have already endured several years of pay freezes and caps. They are understandably angry and frustrated at the cavalier way they have been treated.

“The planned action will undoubtedly cause widespread disruption to NHS services. However, we are sending formal notification of this action to all affected NHS employers so that they can work out essential cover requirements to ensure patient safety.

“We are open to talks but the Health Secretary still refuses to meet the unions. This is not the way to go about dispute resolution. Jeremy Hunt needs to get round the table and make more money available for a settlement.”

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “Our action in October was very effective in showing the level of discontent amongst midwives and that the goodwill that midwives gives to the NHS everyday is worth far more than the 1% pay increase. Announcing these further dates of action shows that we are determined that enough is enough, NHS staff deserve fair pay.

“Our members have suffered three years of pay restraint and face the prospect that their pay in 2016 will only be 1% higher than it was in 2010.The recommendations from all public sector pay review bodies have been followed except those for health workers. This is not acceptable. There is still time to come back to the negotiating table and to take a more reasonable position on the PRB recommendation.

“Last time the RCM worked very hard to meet with employers to discuss our action and to ensure that mothers and babies were not put at any risk; we will do exactly the same for the action in November. I want to reassure women expecting a baby that midwives will continue to look after them and that they will be safe. ”

 


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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