Nearly 90,000 members of Unite, including health visitors and support staff, will be balloted on strike action later in the summer after a preliminary ballot last week showed 75% of respondents were in favour of a full strike action ballot.
Members will also hold a national day of protest on 18 August in a bid to get the government to renegotiate the second two years of the deal. So far the government has refused the union’s request for more discussions.
Unite says the reopener clause, which other NHS unions are hoping to invoke if inflation rises further, is not strong enough.
Gail Cartmail, Unite’s assistant general secretary, said: ‘There is no history in the public sector of a reopener clause being honoured. The conditions [in this clause] are woolly, putting it politely.’
The remaining 12 health unions last week signed up to the pay circular, which ratifies this year’s 2.75% increase, meaning the extra money will be in nurses’ pay slips next month.