NHS workers have experienced years of falling living standards and will be taking part in strike action on Monday over pay.
Staff have seen their pay fall in real terms each year since 2009. This year, the Government decided not to pay even the 1% rise recommended by the NHS Pay Review Body. Instead, most NHS staff will not get any cost of living payment this year.
UNISON members working in the NHS will stage a four-hour stoppage between 7am and 11am on Monday 24 November. This will be followed by six days of action short of a strike between Tuesday 25 and Sunday 30 November when members will take their scheduled breaks, leave on time and not work unpaid overtime.
“It’s a real struggle to make ends meet each week. Paying the bills is hard and I end up having to rob Peter to pay Paul. I can barely afford the kids’ bus fares to college. If we need anything extra it’s a big problem – I needed a filling recently and had to live with toothache for a few weeks while I saved up.
“We have to pay to park at work and our pension contributions have gone up. I’ve seen colleagues working so many extra shifts to try to earn enough money to get by that they’ve ended up damaging their own health and going off sick.
“The Government refusing to pay us even a 1% rise this year was the final straw for us. We have to take action because we are so desperate. If David Cameron was here I’d plead with him to listen to the people’s voices. We just can’t go on like this anymore.”
Amy Barringer, UNISON North West’s Head of Health said:
“Morale is low in our NHS.. Staff are working hard to keep services afloat but are being treated very badly by the Government. NHS workers are now 10% worse off than they were in 2010 and the refusal to pay even 1% this year has felt like a slap in the face.
“More unions are taking part in the strike action than last time and the pressure on the Government to treat NHS staff fairly is growing.
“Health workers feel over worked and under-valued. They feel they have no option but to take action for fair pay. The Government needs to listen.”