NHS strikes are facing a major escalation, as health unions have announced a mass boycott of the NHS pay review body. The boycott will take place while the current wage disputes from 2022/23 remain unresolved, with 14 unions demanding direct pay talks with ministers instead. The unions represent more than one million ambulance staff, nurses, porters, healthcare assistants, physiotherapists and other NHS workers in England.
This is a spanner in the works for the Government, which was hoping to end strikes by shifting the focus onto next year’s wage deals.
Health unions have said they have lost confidence in the pay review processes’ ability to resolve the dispute, calling instead for direct talks with ministers and employers.
Sara Gorton, Secretary General of Unison and the chair of the NHS group of unions, said: “The pay review body process doesn’t fit the current context.
“The NHS staffing crisis is so acute only prompt action on pay – both for this and the next financial year – can start to turn things around.
“The public knows ambulance response times are worsening and hospital waiting lists growing because the NHS no longer has the necessary staff to meet demand, nor provide safe patient care.
“Ministers must seize the initiative, get everyone around the table and negotiate a way to the best deal for staff, patients and services.”
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