Health workers facing the full force of the cost-of-living crisis are being called on to support industrial action over pay, says UNISON.
The cost-of-living crisis has now reached such an extent that public sector staff are having to take extreme measures just to survive, says the union.
UNISON, which represents tens of thousands of health workers across Wales and almost half a million across the UK, has heard from NHS staff in Wales leaving pension schemes to free up much-needed cash, re-mortgaging and in some cases being forced to sell their homes in order to pay their bills.
The news comes as UNISON is organising a series of events at health boards across Wales on Thursday (22 September) calling on all NHS workers to show their support for industrial action following what it sees as the latest derisory pay award from the Welsh government.
The government’s pay award means everyone directly employed by the NHS will get an extra £1,400 added to their full-time salary.
Yet, overall home energy bills will have typically risen by over £2,000 since the date of the last pay award for health workers, says UNISON.
The union will soon begin balloting NHS workers in Wales over potential strike action as a result of the latest pay award.
Jan Tomlinson, UNISON Cymru/Wales assistant convenor, said: “Sadly the impact of the cost-of-living crisis is hitting many public sector workers hard.
“These are unprecedented times. Many experienced staff will be lost to the NHS without urgent action.”
UNISON Cymru/Wales head of health Hugh McDyer said: “Everyone should have the right to eat, heat their homes and feed their families.
“The pay award of £1,400 for health workers is nowhere near enough and leaves everyone in the NHS worse off.
“However the award is sliced, it’s a real-terms pay cut across every single NHS salary band.”