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Nurses and staff threaten strike over hospital's 'derisory' 2% pay offer

Staff at a hospital in the south of England are being balloted on the possibility of strike action after they were offered a 2% pay rise.

Most staff at Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust are on local terms and conditions and receive pay offers independently from the rest of the health service.

From 1st April, the trust has announced it will offer staff a 2% for the 2008-2009 financial year, which has sparked a call for industrial or possibly even a strike from Unison members at the trust.

Nick Bradley, Unison regional officer, has written to the trust’s chief executive, John Gillam to raise the concerns.

Mr Bradley said: ‘It is outrageous that Southend Hospital has made such a derisory offer in advance of any national offer being considered in the NHS.

‘A 2% increase would mean a pay cut for our members and it is completely unacceptable. I am certain that our members will reject this and it is very likely that we will be in dispute with them.’

The indicative ballot on industrial and strike action is due to end in late March.

Sandra Le Blanc, the trust's director of human resources, said: 'Should the national pay award be more than 2% the Trust will revisit with staffside and should a further settlement be agreed this will be backdated.'

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