Health workers in England are to stage a four-hour strike on 13 October, the Unison union has announced.Up to half a million NHS staff could take part in the strike action over pay, after being denied a 1% salary rise by the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, despite a recommendation by the independent Pay Review Body. It will be the first NHS strike in 32 years.
Statement from Dr Clive Peedell, co-leader of the National Health Action Party:
"We can't run the NHS without suitable staff, we can't improve the NHS without more staff, and we can't recruit staff if pay keeps falling behind inflation and comparable jobs.
"The nationally agreed pay system established in the last decade is now under sustained attack. It's outrageous that Jeremy Hunt has refused even a meagre 1% pay rise for many NHS staff. It's also disingenuous to claim there has to be a choice between paying staff at agreed rates and inflicting savage cuts, especially when those cuts flow from the 5-year spending freeze brought in by his government.
"The fact that NHS staff have been driven to take strike action speaks volumes for the damaging, morale-sapping policies this government has inflicted on them.
For these reasons, we support this strike action."