UNISON, Unite, GMB and RCM to ballot NHS staff on industrial action over pay

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22 / 7 / 2014 12.09pm

UNISON, Unite, GMB and the Royal College of Midwives have announced that they will be holding industrial action ballots for their NHS members in England.  

The ballots are in response to the Government’s decision on the 2014/15 pay award.  

  • UNISON’s ballot will begin on 28 August and run until 18 September. UNISON say that “A yes vote  is likely to lead to some form of action in early October, followed by further strikes and action over the Autumn and Winter.” 
  • The RCM have said that they will ballot their members during September.
  • GMB will be balloting members in August/September with any action commencing in October. 
  • Unite’s ballot will run from 26 August – 26 September. 

Dean Royles, chief executive of the NHS Employers organisation, said: 

“I completely understand the frustration and anger staff and trade unions feel after a prolonged period of pay restraint and the decision not to fully implement the pay review body recommendations. They are clearly annoyed at the government and I understand they will want to protest. But timing ballots and industrial action for the busy winter period is bound to impact on care. This is a critical time when a union campaign risks a prolonged period of real distress for patients this winter. Employers will do all they can to maximise patent safety and emergency care."

Read more in our media statement - Union ballots risk patient safety when we need discussion, not disruption

The current position of other health unions

  • RCN leader Peter Carter used a keynote speech at the RCN Congress in June to steer members away from strike action over pay. He advised members to "think carefully" before calling for a strike ballot, and instead advocated alternative forms of action such as lobbying MPs and protests. The RCN has confirmed that it currently has no plans to ballot members about industrial action.
  • CSP - We understand that the CSP are currently in the process of consulting their members and are likely to make a decision on whether or not to ballot on, or around, 12 August.

Next steps

We will continue to provide further updates as the situation develops. 

You may wish to review our recently updated our guidance on Industrial action and contingency planning, prepared with our partner Capsticks

As further details emerge we will also work with Capsticks to provide you with additional support, resources and guidance, to help you safely manage the effect of any potential industrial action on your organisation. 

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