British Health Workers Urged To Take Strike Action

Hospital staff on strike to defend their pensions in 2011 (Pic: Pete Jackson)

Annette Mackin

Britain’s biggest health union today named Monday 13 October as the day for England’s first NHS strike over pay in 32 years.

Unison health executive voted overwhelmingly to ask its industrial action committee to authorise a strike of Unison health workers from 7am to 11am. This will be followed by days of action short of strike action from 14-17 October, where health workers will take their break.

“This is really great news. This government will walk all over us if we don’t organise,” said Karen Reissmann, nurse and Unison union national executive member, speaking in a personal capacity

The decision comes after Unison members voted by 68 percent in favour of a strike. Unite, GMB and the Royal College of Midwives are also balloting their members in the NHS.

The planned walkout is set to take place the day before up to a million council workers and further education lecturers strike in England and Wales on Tuesday 14 October.

Then Saturday 18 October will see TUC and STUC demonstrations in London and Glasgow.

“We will be using the strike and week of action to bring being together and build for the TUC national demonstration for better pay on 18 October,” said Karen.

“We need to throw ourselves behind the action and make it as big as possible.”

Further action in the autumn is possible if the four hour walkout is a success.

Tory health secretary Jeremy Hunt has denied most NHS workers even the miserly 1 percent pay rise they had been offered by their pay review body.

Inflation has already wiped out 12 percent of the average NHS worker’s pay since 2011. Workers in the bottom two pay bands are paid less than the “living wage”, and 70 percent of NHS nurses are not due a pay rise for another two years.

This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license.