In anticipation of government negotiations regarding public sector stakeholder pensions, unions have planned an NHS – wide strike if such negotiations fail by autumn.
Staff across every level of the NHS will be involved in the strike that is being put into the planning stages tomorrow at a London meeting.
Entire units of NHS to be shut down
Those involved include, doctors, nurses, cleaners and hospital administrators. When the strike is put into action, entire units of the NHS will be shut down in mass industrial action, estimated to take place in December.
Members and leaders of the union are already putting in place safety measures to ensure patients remain safe throughout the duration of the strikes.
A representative of 460,000 NHS staff said that failure was “almost inevitable” and said that ministers has refused to negotiate on the most essential issues of increasing members’ contributions and delaying the retirement age.
The meeting that has been planned by Unison to take place in London will be attended by the Royal College of Nursing, British Medical Association and the British Dental Association.
Unison, whose 1.4 million members include 460,000 NHS workers, meeting agenda includes discussion of “possible future industrial action” including the nature of potential strikes, legal issues and the provision of emergency cover.
Unison said it was “hoping for the best but planning for the worst” in relation to the outcome of pension talks with the government.
First time full-scale industrial action for the health service
The union’s national secretary for health,Christina McAnea, said: “There has never been full-scale industrial action in the health service. This is the first time all the groups have come together to talk about it. Industrial action in the NHS could be massive.
“We want to have things in place early, to make sure we can cover everything and ensure we minimise problems for patients. But it almost feels this is inevitable.”
Unions will be told each sector’s pension settlement either at or after a joint meeting with ministers on 8 September.
Brian Strutton, the GMB’s national secretary for public services said: “The problem with all the talks is that they don’t really resemble genuine negotiations because for a long time the government has been completely inflexible in its approach,” said Gail Cartmail, assistant general secretary of Unite which represents around 250,000 public sector workers. Cartmail added that ballot preparations are on-going.