NHS workers set for pay row strike

Strike plans: Hundreds of workers are set to walk out in a row over pay. Midwives are pictured outside Blackpool Victoria Hospital at the last  strike. Below, James Sorah, from Blackpool Against the Cuts
Strike plans: Hundreds of workers are set to walk out in a row over pay. Midwives are pictured outside Blackpool Victoria Hospital at the last strike. Below, James Sorah, from Blackpool Against the Cuts
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Hundreds of NHS workers across the Fylde coast will walk out today for four hours in a row over pay.

Staff will form picket lines outside hospitals and health centres across the region.

Blackpool Against Cuts rally in St John's Square, Blackpool. James Sorah (publicity officer-Blackpool Against Cuts)

Blackpool Against Cuts rally in St John's Square, Blackpool. James Sorah (publicity officer-Blackpool Against Cuts)

The four-hour walkout – between 7am and 11am –comes a month after thousands of workers walked out in the first NHS pay strike in 32 years. Midwives also joined the strike – their first in 133 years.

Workers are angry about the government’s decision not to accept an independent pay review body’s one per cent recommendation.

James Sorah, of Blackpool Against The Cuts, said the country was still being made to pay for the 2008 economic crisis with cuts to public services.

He added: “We fully support any workers who are prepared to take action.

“To not give a one per cent pay increase is frankly an insult.

“For health care workers to go on strike just shows how low morale is.

“It is at crisis point in health care.

“We are concerned about the privatisation of the NHS – two out three contracts are being awarded to private health firms.”

More workers are expected to walk out today because more trade unions are joining the strike.

Amy Barringer, Unison’s head of health in the north west, said: “Morale is low in our NHS. Staff are working hard to keep services afloat, but they are being treated very badly by the government.

“NHS workers are 10 per cent worse off than they were in 2010.”

Blackpool NHS Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust said contingency plans were in place for the walk out.

A spokesman said: “The Trust is working with unions to minimise the impact on patients and ensure we continue to provide high quality and safe services to patients during this period of industrial action.

“It is possible that patients may experience some delays during this time and we would ask people to bear with us and understand that the Trust is working to ensure safe and effective care.”

Why are staff walking out today?

This is the second week of industrial action in the NHS in an ongoing dispute over pay.

The previous week of action involved a four-hour strike on October 13 and further action from October 14 to 17.

Workers are angry about the Government’s decision not to accept a one per cent pay increase recommendation by an independent NHS pay review body.

The four-hour stoppage will be followed by further action from 11am today to midnight on Sunday, with an overtime ban in the ambulance service and other NHS employees working to their contracted hours.