Employers urge unions not to decide on strike action

Surgeon washing hands

18 / 9 / 2014 2.32pm

NHS Employers has urged unions not to formally decide to strike, in response to Unison’s 68 per cent ‘yes’ vote for strike action announced today (18 September 2014).

Gill Bellord, director of employment relations and reward at the NHS Employers organisation, said: 

"This yes-vote is disappointing for the NHS and will concern thousands of patients who rely on its services, as well as many staff. But we remain hopeful that a decision will be made not to proceed with strike action.

“We completely understand the frustration of many staff following a prolonged period of pay restraint but patient safety must always be our first priority. Employers need to maximise their ability to retain staff and plan changes to how they work in response to the changing needs of patients, and major financial challenges have made stark choices inevitable.
“I would strongly urge unions to take patients out of this dispute and instead continue constructive discussions, exploring ways to come out of this period of pay restraint in a sustainable way.

“We have asked unions to ensure they give employers far more than the minimum seven days statutory notice to help plan patient care, should unions formally proceed to strike action. Employers can then communicate with staff about how it could impact their work and to minimise disruption to patients.

“We need to remember that staff and patients have benefited hugely from the positive industrial relations climate that has existed in the NHS for a generation. I know that NHS organisations and trade unions – and indeed our patients - will not want that to be lost.”


Notes for editors:

  • The NHS Employers organisation is the recognised body for employers in the NHS, supporting them to put patients first.
  • Follow NHS Employers on Twitter at @nhsemployers 

Contact details:

If you have a media enquiry, please contact the press office:

Mike Foster
Senior Media Officer
NHS Employers
Tel: 020 7799 8671
Email: mike.foster@nhsemployers.org 
For out of hours media enquiries, please contact the duty press officer on 07880 500 726.

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