Unison is to ballot its 450,000 members who work in the health sector on the government’s proposals to change the NHS pension scheme.
The Royal College of Midwives will also begin a consultation next week on the deal.
The announcements come as the union Unite said its members had overwhelmingly rejected the government’s proposed deal.
The Unison ballot runs from 11 to 27 April.
Nurses and other healthcare workers will be asked if they want accept or reject the proposed pension agreement as the “best that can be achieved through negotiations”. However, the union has made no recommendation on which way to vote.
Unison head of health Christina McAnea said: “The union will be giving full and open information on what it will mean for individual members’ pensions, so they are in the best position to make an informed decision.
“We are still disappointed that the proposals don’t meet all our aspirations for health workers, particularly around the retirement age. But the ballot papers will also recognise that rejecting the offer would require members to take further industrial action.”
“We have given a commitment from day one that it is for our members to decide and we are keeping to that commitment,” she added.
The RCM consultation will start on the 26 March and close on the 23 April.
College chief executive Cathy Warwick said: “We are urging RCM members to respond to the consultation.
“While we are not making a recommendation to them, this is the best that can be achieved by negotiation and they should take this opportunity to have their say on their pension.”
She noted that an RCM survey had found midwives’ biggest concern was the proposed change in retirement age, meaning they could be working on “stretched and busy maternity units” at the age of 68.
Following the consultation the RCM’s board will make a final decision to either accept or reject the government’s offer.
Dean Royles, director of NHS Employers, said: “This is a really important issue for all parties involved across the public sector - for staff, for employers and for government. The NHS pension scheme proposals have the added complexity of involving 15 trade unions and we all need to find a way through to avoid further industrial action and the implications that would have for patient care
“It is right that staff now have the time and right information to consider these proposals, including the costs and benefits and the implications of rejection.”
Meanwhile, Unite announced its NHS members would stage protests on 28 March, after 94% of them voted to reject the pensions package in a consultative ballot. A quarter of the union’s 100,000 NHS members voted.
Unite had already rejected the deal – the only union to do so prior to a membership consultation – but opted to hold a ballot of its members to reinforce its decision. The union recommended members vote against the proposals.
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “The idea of a nurse or paramedic lifting patients at the age of 68 is unacceptable.”