Nurses vote to go on strike as pay deal sparks fury

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Hospitals could be hit by strike action after nurses and other NHS workers voted for industrial action over pay.

Nurses, occupational therapists, porters, paramedics, medical secretaries, cooks and healthcare assistants could walk out after public sector union Unison held a strike ballot.

The union said almost 70 per cent of members who took part in the ballot voted in favour of a strike in protest at a government decision to freeze pay for most NHS workers.

Some 88 per cent of Unison members voted for industrial action short of a strike.

A strike could be called early next month and would affect services at Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury hospitals.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “This government’s treatment of NHS workers has angered them and this anger has now turned into action.

“Inflation has continued to rise since 2011 and the value of NHS pay has fallen by around 12 per cent.

“We know health workers don’t take strike action lightly or often.

“The last action over pay was 32 years ago. But we also know a demoralised and de-motivated workforce isn’t good for patients.

“If we move into industrial action we will work with NHS employers to minimise the impact on patients.”

The Department of Health said it was proposing to give NHS staff at least a one per cent pay rise this year and next year.

A spokesman for the department said: “We remain keen to meet with the unions to discuss how we can work together to make the NHS pay system fairer and more affordable.”

Unison said 70 per cent of nurses and 60 per cent of all NHS workers faced having no pay rise this year and next.