Hundreds and thousands of healthcare workers in the UK, including nurses and paramedics, are to be balloted for a strike over pay.
According to the trade union Unison, the 460,000 employees are angry at the government's decision to increase pay by 1% – below Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation of 1.6%.
The union claims that the government's remuneration move has left 60% of NHS workers without a pay increase this year, including 70% of nurses
"Demand for NHS services is increasing and funding has been cut - regardless of what the Westminster Government says – you know the reality of this and they want you and our members to make up the shortfall by cutting pay and conditions," said Christina McAnea, Unison's head of health.
Unison is calling for a day of protests on 5 June, including lunchtime demonstrations at workplaces across the country.
The union also claimed that the value of health workers' pay has fallen between 10 -14% since the Coalition Government came to power in May 2010.
Unsion's motion calls for an effective protest against the "despicable treatment" of health staff in 2014 and calls for both protest and formal action up to and including lawful strike action.
"In the wake of the Francis Inquiry, our first priority must be to protect and properly staff the frontline," said a spokesman for the Department of Health.
"Giving staff a pay rise this year on top of increments would cost the equivalent of paying for 6,000 nurses, and could risk unsafe care.
"Our door is open to trade unions if they wish to discuss how we can make the NHS pay system fairer. If trade unions agree to freeze incremental pay next year, we would be able to give all NHS employed staff a consolidated one per cent pay rise for the next two years."