NHS crisis deepens as Unite ballots 1,000 Lancashire and Manchester workers for strike

Unite members who work or the NHS are being balloted for strike actionUnite members who work or the NHS are being balloted for strike action
Unite members who work or the NHS are being balloted for strike action
More than 1,000 NHS workers across Lancashire and Manchester – including Blackpool and Preston - have begun balloting for strike action says Unite, which represents some 100,000 NHS workers.

The strike action would take place in early 2023.

The union said its healthcare members are warning the NHS is on ‘life support’ and that without serious investment to stem the recruitment and retention crisis and save failing services it may not survive.

The workers include those who perform roles in nursing, healthcare, science, counselling, psychology, dentistry, pharmacology, audiology, optometry, administration, IT and building maintenance services.

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Earlier this month another union, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said its members at Blackpool Victoria Hospital would not be taking part in the national strikes, as it didn’t get enough votes from its members.

But Blackpool’s UNITE members are among those being balloted as unrest over pay and conditions gathers momentum.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Anyone who has had the misfortune to be taken to hospital in an ambulance or spent far too long waiting for treatment knows the NHS is in a fight for its life.

"Burnt out. low-paid staff, who have seen their wages attacked every year for more than a decade, are leaving in droves.

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“The NHS is on life support and without proper pay and funding it may not survive. That’s why NHS workers are standing up: They know that decent pay is essential to the service’s future.”

The constant real terms pay cuts and the increasing pressure that workers are experiencing are key factors in the growing vacancies for staff in the NHS.

Nearly one in 10 posts – 132,000 positions – are now vacant and the figure is continuing to grow.

Unite members at NHS Blood and Transplant and the Manchester University Hospitals, Christie, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, East Lancashire Hospitals, Blackpool Teaching Hospitals, Greater Manchester Mental Health and Warrington and Holton NHS trusts are being balloted.

The ballot results are expected in late December.

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Unite has begun balloting nearly 10,000 health service workers across the country for strike action on top of thousands of other NHS workers who it has been balloting since October.

Unite is also planning to ballot thousands more in the coming months.