NHS union members will be asked if they want to strike

Residents in south east ‘in hibernation’

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HEALTH workers in the Portsmouth area will be asked if they want to take strike action over pay disputes.

Unions Unison and Unite said it will be balloting its members across the country in response to the government saying no to a pay rise for workers over the next two years.

Unison said it has around 1,000 members locally, with many working in St James’ Hospital, in Locksway Road, Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, and at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital.

Members will get the chance to vote from August 28 to September 18.

The ballot will cover health workers including nurses, therapists, porters, paramedics, medical secretaries, cooks, cleaners and healthcare assistants.

Christina McAnea, Unison head of health, said: ‘Balloting for strike action is not an easy decision – especially in the NHS.

‘But this government is showing complete contempt for NHS workers.

‘It has swept aside the Pay Review Body’s recommendations and ignored the union’s call for a fair deal.

‘Our members are angry at the way they are being treated and we are left with little choice but to ballot for action.

‘We hope to work closely with the other health unions to plan and coordinate action. It is not too late however for Jeremy Hunt to agree to further talks, without pre-conditions, to settle the dispute.’

Unite will be balloting its members between August 26 to September 26.

Head of health Rachael Maskell said: ‘We are calling on our members to give us a strong mandate for industrial action.

‘This will send a crystal clear message to health secretary Jeremy Hunt that he needs to sit down with the unions and listen to our proposals for fair pay for the biggest workforce in this country.

‘Industrial action will be carefully calibrated to balance the real and deep anger that our members feel about their falling incomes, with concern for patient care which is paramount for the health professionals we represent.’