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More than 100,000 vote for pensions walkout

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More than 100,000 NHS workers have now voted to strike against changes to pensions, after two more unions announced their ballot results this week.

Three quarters of Unite members who took part in its ballot voted in favour of strike action. Around a third of its 1.5 million members took part, of whom more than 400,000 work in health roles.

Meanwhile members of the GMB union, which has also NHS members, voted four to one in favour of striking on 30 November, designated by the Trades Union Congress as a “day of action”.

The results follow Unison’s “yes” vote three weeks ago. Unison has 400,000 NHS members, of which a quarter took part in the ballot and 82% voted to strike.

This suggests in excess of 100,000 health workers will go on strike and it is likely many elective procedures will be cancelled as a result. Nursing Times understands most trusts are planning to provide a level of service on 30 November equivalent to that on Christmas Day.

The walkout is a protest against plans to scrap final salary pensions, increase contributions and raise the retirement age. The government revised its original plans on 2 November, saying the accrual rate on offer would be 8% higher than first proposed. However, public sector unions remain opposed to the changes.

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “If the government seriously wants to avert a long dispute and heal the divisions it is causing, it needs to get back round the table with some sensible plans for solving the problems it alone has caused.”

Two meetings between unions and the Department of Health have been held, but Nursing Times understands no new offers have been put forward by the government since the one at the start of the month.

The Royal College of Nursing has threatened to ballot in January unless the government significantly improves the deal on offer.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • It would have been more than 100,000 if the RCN were out on the 30th. Shame.

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