UNISON has written to the Welsh government confirming it will ballot health workers for strike action over their derisory pay award, the union said today (Friday 14/10/22).
Most NHS staff were given just a £1,400 wage rise for this year, falling way short of the inflation-busting increase health unions said was needed to retain staff.
The announcement of the ballot, which opens on Thursday 27 October, follows a UNISON survey of public sector workers across Wales which revealed people were pawning possessions to cope with the cost-of-living crisis. More than one in six said they had gone without meals.
UNISON recently held a major rally in Cardiff city centre to highlight the difficulties caused by the ever-deepening cost-of-living crisis.
UNISON Cymru/Wales head of health, Hugh McDyer, said: “Health workers in Wales are taking extreme measures as costs spiral but their pay falls behind. Some are re-mortgaging their homes and living off bread and soup to survive and this will only get worse as we go into winter.
“Many health staff have decided industrial action is the only way to convince decision-makers that putting pay right is absolutely critical to preventing the NHS from a terminal decline.”
UNISON Cymru/Wales regional secretary, Dominic MacAskill, said: “Workers have had enough. Nurses, paramedics, health care assistants, cleaners and porters are saying the service is on its knees.
“Taking strike action is the only option our members have to improve it.
“When public sector employees take strike action, it’s because they have been left with no alternative. It’s a decision they don’t take lightly because they lose pay.
“This ballot is about dedicated and experienced workers, taking a stand about the future of the public services they provide.”