Portsmouth NHS staff could strike in row over wages

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage.

Picture: Steve Reid

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PORTSMOUTH NHS workers are to be balloted over strike action in a row over pay, has been announced.

Unison union said it is to ask 300,000 of its members to back walkouts following the government’s decision not to accept a recommended across-the-board one per cent wage rise for NHS staff.

If approved, the industrial action will take place in early October, followed by further waves of strikes.

Hospitals across the country could face disruption if nurses, therapists, porters, paramedics, medical secretaries, cooks, cleaners and healthcare assistants decide to join picket lines.

The union said that the Government’s decision not to implement the one per cent pay rise recommended by the NHS Pay Review Body would deny 60 per cent of NHS staff and 70 per cent of nurses a pay rise for the next two years.

Christina McAnea, head of health at Unison, 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 (Health Secretary) Jeremy Hunt to agree to further talks, without pre-conditions, to settle the dispute.’

The ballot will begin on August 28 and run until September 18.