The NHS is to face a second day of strike action, as unions continue their dispute with the government over health service pay.
Unions will stage a four-hour walk out from 7am until 11am on Monday 24 November, followed by working-to-rule for the rest of that week until Sunday 30 November.
“The government has made no attempt to resolve this dispute and staff have been left with no alternative but to take more industrial action”
A total of 11 trade unions will take part in the strike, including Unison, which has 250,000 health members in England, the Royal College of Midwives, Unite, the GMB and Managers in Partnership.
It follows an initial strike on 13 October by members from eight unions in England, which also ran from 7-11am. Unite members in Northern Ireland also took part in separate action later in the day.
Christina McAnea, chair of the NHS trade unions staff side and head of health at Unison, said: “The next set of industrial action will be even stronger as more unions are joining in.
“Health workers care for patients and their families every day of the year often when they are at their most vulnerable or distressed. The NHS depends on the goodwill and commitment of the workforce and this is now at breaking point,” she said.
“The government has made no attempt to resolve this dispute and staff have been left with no alternative but to take more industrial action. [Health secretary] Jeremy Hunt needs to realise that this dispute is not going away. All we are asking for is fair pay,” she added.
The industrial action follows health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s decision earlier this year to reject the independent pay review body’s recommendation of a 1% pay increase for all NHS staff.
Instead, the government imposed a two-year deal in which employees eligible for incremental pay rises under Agenda for Change receive no separate cost of living rise, while employees not eligible for an increment receive a non-consolidated, non-pensionable, 1% pay rise.
The government has offered the unions a deal to give staff a consolidated pay rise, but only if unions agreed to a freeze on increments in 2015-16.
Unite head of health Rachael Maskell said: “It is crystal clear that Jeremy Hunt and his government have pulled down the shutters on talks to improve the ever-eroding incomes of the 1.35 million-strong NHS workforce.
“The stonewalling of Hunt has energised our members to build on the industrial action they took earlier this month and to strike for four hours on Monday 24 November.”
“Announcing these further dates of action shows that we are determined that enough is enough, NHS staff deserve fair pay”
Unite members are also being asked to observe an eight week work-to-rule starting on 24 November and running to 19 January 2015.
Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “Our action in October was very effective in showing the level of discontent amongst midwives and that the goodwill that midwives gives to the NHS everyday is worth far more than the 1% pay increase.
“Announcing these further dates of action shows that we are determined that enough is enough, NHS staff deserve fair pay,” she said.
She added: “Last time the RCM worked very hard to meet with employers to discuss our action and to ensure that mothers and babies were not put at any risk; we will do exactly the same for the action in November.”
Meanwhile, members of Unison in Wales will walk out from 8.30am to 12 noon on 10 November, followed by four days of industrial action short of a strike.
It follows the results of a ballot, which were released on 20 October. Unison members voted “overwhelmingly” in support of action, with 77% of the 5,715 turnout agreeing to a strike. In addition, 90% voted in favour of action short of strike action in the ballot.
In Northern Ireland, Unite health members will continue to work-to-rule while the union organises further stoppages. It follows the announcement that there would be no cost of living pay rise for healthcare workers under the 2014-15 health budget.
Unions taking part in the strike on 24 November
- Royal College of Midwives (RCM)
- Union of Construction, Allied Trades and Technicians (UCATT)
- Society of Radiographers (SoR)
- British Association of Occupational Therapists (BAOT)
- Unite the union
- Managers in Partnership (MiP)
- Prison Officers Association (POA)
- Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association* (HCSA)
- British Dietetic Association * (BDA)
(* did not take part in first the strike on 13 October)