NHS
Paramedics and nurses in England plan to go on strikeReuters

NHS staff, including paramedics and nurses, are to strike across England in a row over pay, according to the trade union Unison.

The move comes after the UK government decided to not award NHS workers a 1% pay rise, which was recommended by the NHS Pay Review Body.

Unison, which has around 300,000 health members in England, said more than six out of ten (68%) of its NHS members who voted in the strike ballot said they were prepared to take industrial action.

"This government's treatment of NHS workers has angered them and this anger has now turned into action," said Dave Prentis, the general secretary of Unison.

"Refusing to pay them even a paltry 1% shows what the government really thinks about its health workers.

"Inflation has continued to rise since 2011 and the value of NHS pay has fallen by around 12%."

The trade union said the last strike action over pay was 32 years ago.

"If we move into industrial action we will work with NHS employers to minimise the impact on patients," Prentis said.

"But it's not too late for [the Secretary of State for Health] Jeremy Hunt to act to avoid this and we repeat our offer to the government to negotiate with us."

Trade unions Unite and the GMB are also balloting their health members across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

But a Department of Health spokesperson said: "We are disappointed that Unison is planning industrial action and has rejected our proposals to give NHS staff at least one per cent pay this year and at least a further 1% next year.

"NHS staff are our greatest asset and we know they are working extremely hard.

"This is why despite tough financial times, we've protected the NHS budget and now have 13,500 more clinical staff than in 2010.

"We want to protect these increases and cannot afford incremental pay increases - which disproportionately reward the highest earners - on top of a general pay rise without risking frontline NHS jobs.

"We remain keen to meet with the unions to discuss how we can work together to make the NHS pay system fairer and more affordable."