Union says it will ballot its members for action if unsocial hours payments are cut

UNISON NHS demoUNISON members working in the NHS will ballot for strike action if David Cameron’s plans for a seven-day NHS mean cutting unsocial hours payments.

The Prime Minister will today announce proposals to give patients access to a GP in the evenings and at weekends. More out-of-hours care will be also be provided in hospitals.

The plans were last  month treated with suspicion by delegates at UNISON’s annual health conference.

UNISON head of health Christina McAnea said: “Any move to a seven-day NHS must not cost staff a penny. Our members made their views clear today. Come after our unsocial hours payments and we will ballot for industrial action.

“As the biggest healthcare union, we are always willing to work with employers to improve and extend NHS services if this is based on patients’ needs and is not just another cost-cutting exercise.

“Once again the Tories want working people to pay the price of their austerity agenda.

“Staff already sacrifice their nights and weekends to care for patients and it’s only right that they are fairly rewarded.

“After five years of pay freezes, workers have come to rely on these payments to survive.

“Our members took their first action in 34 years last year over pay. If the Tories get elected in May and come after NHS workers’ pay again. we could be in dispute for the second time in a year.

“This industrial unrest, fear and anger among NHS workers is the real Tory legacy.”

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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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