GMB members in the NHS walked out this morning in a dispute over pay alongside members from other unions.
The strike action will be followed by an overtime ban in the ambulance service from Tuesday 14th to Friday 17th inclusive, with other NHS employees working to their contracted hours during the same period.
GMB conducted an official ballot of 22,000 members in the NHS in England and Northern Ireland. There was overwhelming support for industrial action against the government and employers pay policies.
The pay offer is a 1% unconsolidated offer for 2014 for those who get it and a further 1% unconsolidated offer in 2015 for those who get it.
Rehana Azam, GMB National Officer, said "On Monday 13th October from 7am NHS Staff will stop work and join a picket line outside their NHS workplace.
NHS Staff take action with a heavy heart as their only priority is to deliver the best patient care, quality and outcomes. Even after staff voted to take strike action and action short of a strike the Secretary of State for Health has refused to meet with the unions representing NHS staffs.
GMB has agreed with Ambulance Services that life-threatening and certain other categories of call (such as renal dialysis and Oncology patients) will be responded to by GMB ambulance crews during the forthcoming dispute in the NHS. In addition, GMB has agreed that the major and hazardous incident team will remain on duty in case a major incident occurs.
The strike has arisen because of the Government’s overruling of the independent, NHS Pay Review Body’s (PRB) recommendation for a 1% consolidated pay rise across the board for all NHS staff.
The intervention by Government means that the 1% will only be available to approximately 40% of NHS employees and it will not be consolidated in to basic pay
Government intervention is in stark contrast to its view when the independent Pay Review Body for MP’s recommended that MP’s should receive a pay rise of 11%.". In that case the government said it could not interfere with the recommendation because it had come from an independent body. Our members are angry as there seems to be one rule for MP’s and a different rule for everyone else.
Members have seen workload increasing and colleagues being overworked. When the cost of living has increased members have endured not just pay freezes but pay cuts, as NHS pay rates are frozen to April 2013 rates.
Jeremy Hunt claims that he withholding the NHS Pay Review Body recommendation s because the cost of implementation will mean further job cuts. NHS Staff are not convinced this is the case as they know the true cost of what is happening to the NHS.
£3 billion was wasted on top down NHS reorganisation while £13.5 billion of NHS services are tendered to the private sector and over £1 billion NHS money has been returned to Treasury. This demonstrates the choices Jeremy Hunt is making over NHS Staff pay."