27 January 2015
Wasted chance as NHS strikes suspended
Tragically the NHS strikes on 29 January and 25 February have been suspended for unions to consult with their members on a slightly improved offer.
After threats to slash unsocial hours enhancements worth up to 30 percent, the mood had hardened among health workers with many more saying they would strike and numbers of RCN members joining Unison.
Combined with more stories of an NHS in crisis threatening Tory electoral chances, Jeremy Hunt called in the unions and offered 1 percent to all not just those at top of scale with £200 extra to those earning under £17,500 (leaving some still below main wage) and minor concessions to ambulance workers. No mention of attacks on unsocial hours being withdrawn.
Even senior officials called it “not a good offer”. Yet the Unison health executive voted to consult its members saying action has won some improvements but not delivered all we want.
If members reject Unison agreed we will join health workers in N Ireland on 13 March for further action.
Our job now is to campaign for rejection of this offer, continue to fight for decent pay including a demand that the Pay Review Body is stood down from discussion on cutting unsocial hours. We need to link this to fight against cuts in service, and put political pressure on MPs by organising lobbies of surgeries demanding they support us and organising NHS Question Times to put them on the spot.
Karen Reissmann, Unison Health Service Group Executive, and NEC member (personal capacity)