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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

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Health staff in strike ballot

HEALTH workers across Cumbria are to be balloted over plans to take industrial action, including a strike.

Unison, one of the largest healthcare unions in the UK, is to ballot its 460,000 members in a dispute over pay. They include nurses, paramedics, porters, cleaners, cooks, therapists and healthcare assistants.

The move follows support for an emergency motion at its annual health conference in Brighton.

This was put forward after Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt rejected proposals for a one per cent pay rise for all NHS staff.

The union says his alternative pay deal has left 60 per cent of NHS staff without an increase this year, including 70 per cent of nurses.

As a result members will be balloted for permission to take strike action and industrial action short of a strike.

In a speech to the conference, Christina McAnea, Unison’s head of health, said: “Demand for NHS services is increasing and funding has been cut, regardless of what the Government says. You know the reality of this and they want you and our members to make up the shortfall by cutting pay and conditions.

“We are the largest health union and we take the responsibility that comes with that very seriously.

“Members neither strike often or easily, but this time it feels that we have no choice. We face a Government in England deliberately provoking us into a dispute.”

To kick-off the campaign, the union is calling for a day of protest on June 5, including lunchtime demonstrations at workplaces countrywide.

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