10th April 2012
Members of the largest health union (Unison) will be balloted from tomorrow (11 April) on whether to accept the government’s pensions offer. NHS staff in the Royal College of Midwives and the GMB are also being balloted this month, following the decision by Unite union members to reject (94% to 6%) the pensions offer last month. Unite members in the NHS are planning for strike action, while the British Medical Association will ballot its members for strike action next month (details of all ballots below).
Labour Party activists in the LRC, campaigning to save the NHS from the planned privatisation and fragmentation in the Health & Social Care Act are calling on NHS staff to follow the lead of Unite members and reject the pensions offer in defence of the NHS.
John McDonnell MP, LRC chair, said,
“We support the campaign by NHS staff to defend their pensions. We know that dedicated health service workers are often reluctant to take strike action, but this fight is about more than pensions alone. Forcing down NHS workers’ pensions and pay is about making services more attractive to private profiteers. Defending pensions is defending the NHS, it is the same fight.
“We say to all NHS staff, we will be with you in your campaign and with you on your picket lines. Solidarity.”
Andrew Fisher, LRC joint secretary, said:
“Government Minister Danny Alexander was very clear when he told Parliament, ‘the new pensions will be substantially more affordable to alternative providers’.
“This is about privatisation. The private companies currently circling the NHS like vultures don’t want the responsibility of delivering decent pensions and so the government is attacking staff terms and conditions first.
“Labour Party members have been at the forefront of campaigns across the country to defend the NHS. Standing up for the pay and pensions of NHS staff is an indivisible part of that fight.”
Unite members voted to reject the pensions offer by over 94%. Unite is expected to announce that its members in the health service will strike on 10 May, probably alongside civil service and education workers.
The following unions are also balloting their members on the pensions offer:
o RCM members’ ballot: 26 March til 23 April.
o Unison members’ ballot: 11April til 27 April
o GMB members’ ballot: 23 April til 21 May
BMA members will be balloted for strike action from 14 May til 29 May
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