Four-hour strike proposed as the start of potential industrial action in the NHS

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06 / 8 / 2014 12.44pm

A number of the health unions will be balloting their members over the next month to ask if they wish to take industrial action in the NHS over the pay dispute. A full list of the ballot dates is already available on our website

As part of this process, UNISON has now confirmed that they will begin the process of formally notifying NHS employing organisations of their ballot dates from 12 August 2014. Members of UNISON will then receive ballot papers from 28 August, with the ballot closing on 18 September 2014.

UNISON has also confirmed that the ballot materials will carry the following description of the action they are likely to ask members to take:

A yes vote from members will mean starting our programme of action with a four-hour strike followed by a short period of action short of strike (e.g. taking your proper breaks or working your contracted hours) in mid-October.’

We expect that the other health unions balloting their members over industrial action, Unite, GMB and the Royal College of Midwives, will follow a similar route.

Next steps

The NHS Employers organisation will be asking UNISON for more details about the timing of a four-hour strike and stressing the need for as much notice of the precise date of the action as possible, so we can maximise patient safety.

In light of the ballots, you may wish to review our recently updated guidance on Industrial action and contingency planning, prepared with our strategic partner Capsticks.

We will continue to keep you updated as further detail emerges on the proposed industrial action and we are working with Capsticks to make sure we provide you with the support you need if any industrial action is confirmed. We are currently planning an update session / webinars to help you safely manage the effect of any potential industrial action on your organisation, along with additional resources and guidance, such as templates and helplines.

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