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Health workers strike over NHS pension proposals


Up to 100,000 workers across the NHS were expected to take part in strike action today in protest at the government’s controversial pension refoms.

Members of the Unite union are joining workers from across the public sector in a day of action against planned changes to pensions, which will see staff work longer and contribute more.

The union, whose members voted by 94% to reject the final pension offer from the government, has pledged all parts of the NHS will be affected by its action.

It is staging 60 events, demonstrations and rallies across the country. The union has pledged patient safety will not be put at risk during the industrial action.

In total as many as 400,000 public sector staff are expected to strike today with off-duty police officers due to rally in central London against cuts to police forces.

Unite claims patients could be put at risk by forcing paramedics and nurses to work until they are 65 or longer, under the proposals. It has also claimed members will have to pay an extra £30 a month in contributions following a two year pay freeze for most staff.

Unite’s assistant general secretary, Gail Cartmail, said the action follows the anger displayed during the “day of action” organised by the Trades Union Congress and held on 30 November last year.

She said: “This anger has been increased by the government’s hardline insistence that public sector employees work longer, pay more and receive less when they eventually retire.

“Our members believe the government is attacking their pensions as a means of helping reduce the budget deficit which has been caused by a greedy city elite that has brought the economy to its knees.

“We call on the coalition to heed the lessons of last week’s local elections and enter into genuine and meaningful talks with the unions.”

The British Medical Association begins a ballot of its members on taking possible industrial action next week.

Earlier this month the Royal College Midwives board accepted the government’s “final offer”, following a consultation of its members. The college said 71.8% of respondents were in favour of accepting the offer while 28.2% wanted to reject it. Turnout was 20%.

However, both the Royal College of Nursing and Unison have stalled on making a formal decision on whether to accept or reject the proposals, following poor turnouts in their respective ballots.



Readers' comments (4)

  • tinkerbell

    Er Excuse me Unite, i am a Unite member and this is the first i've heard. Hope you have actually contacted all your other members and only forgotten to let me know, otherwise don't expect a big turnout. Pathetic! Could i have a refund?

    Next time, if there is one, remember to drop me a line, email, phone, SMS, text, fax, carrier pigeon. I may have been out of the country but not off the planet.

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  • Sorry but the English part of the UK voted them in and now we are all paying the price. The Tories were hunted out of Scotland long ago and will never rule here again after Thatcher. When will you learn? They always do the same thing, reduce tax on the richest and hit the low paid workers and pensioners. I hope all the NHS workers who voted for them are happy now. WAKE UP!!!!!

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  • I think I keep up to date with all that's going on with the Pension row. I am not in Unite and have already taken my pension (but continue to work P/T), and have still supported the opposition to the changes, with my colleagues interest at heart. I thought I could be forgiven afor my lack of awareness as it was Unite, but to hear Tinkerbell didn't know about it either is a real shock. What are you doing Unite? It seems a sham.

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  • I shouldn't get too, hot and bothered about your 'pension rights, by the time this government allows you to retire from work, eventually retire, say around 70yrs or so, you'll only have a couple years to enjoy it, before you pop your clogs!

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