GMB Union launches strike ballot over government's 3% pay offer for NHS staff
A UNION has launched a strike ballot after more than 90% of its members rejected the government's "miserable" pay offer of an extra 3% for NHS workers across England.
GMB Union will gauge members' appetite for industrial action across 55 NHS trusts, including Southern Health, which runs Lymington hospital, University Hospitals Dorset NHS Trust, which manages Bournemouth and Christchurch hospitals, and University Hospital Southampton NHS Trust.
They will also include the ambulance services covering Hampshire and Dorset.
In March this year NHS staff were originally offered a 1% pay rise, but this figure was heavily criticised after the unprecedented pandemic year for healthcare professionals.
The government later accepted the recommendations of the NHS independent pay review bodies in full to offer 3% for this year, backdated to April 2021.
But the GMB is demanding a "restorative" rise of 15% "to replace what has been lost from pay packets over the last decade".
Nick Day, lead NHS officer for southern region, said: “When 94% of our members rejected this miserable pay award, GMB was crystal clear with Savid Javid: the government needs to get around the table and improve this offer.
“The wall of silence we’ve received has left us no choice. GMB members will be asked to take formal industrial action and to give us a mandate by mid-December."
GMB said the offer is a "real terms pay cut" when considering inflation, increases in national insurance and pension contributions and energy and petrol price rises.
Mr Day continued: “We cannot be in a situation where those who dealt with the front end of the Covid-19 pandemic end up with less in their pockets.
“Enough is enough – we will never solve the staffing shortages if the government doesn’t wake up and smell the coffee."
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said NHS staff were "rightly receiving" the uplift in recognition of their "extraordinary efforts throughout this global pandemic".
“This follows the recommendations of the independent NHS Pay Review Body and the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration, who considered a wide range of evidence from organisations across government, the NHS and trade unions in making the decision,” they said.
The ballot will open on 10th November and close on 15th December. Any strikes would take place in the new year.