Page last updated at 10:21 GMT, Friday, 30 May 2008 11:21 UK

Health workers reject pay offer

Hospital ward
The pay deal covers three years

Thousands of health workers have overwhelmingly rejected the government's three-year 8% pay offer, the GMB union has said.

The union, which represents 30,000 NHS staff in England and Wales, said more than 96% of its members had voted against the deal.

It comes days after the Royal College of Midwives also rejected the offer.

Unison and the Royal College of Nursing, which represent more NHS staff, are balloting their members.

The ballot result is a resounding no
Sharon Holder, GMB

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is urging members to accept the deal, but Unison members are being balloted without a steer from their leaders.

Members of the union Unite have already rejected the deal by six to one.

One year deal

The GMB, which represents ambulance crews, porters, catering staff, cleaners, laboratory workers and maintenance staff, has said it will now seek an immediate meeting with Health Secretary Alan Johnson.

The union's Sharon Holder said: "The ballot result is a resounding no.

"This result vindicates the position of the GMB negotiators, who knew instinctively that GMB members would not tolerate this unacceptable, long-term pay offer.

A multi-year deal ensures security for staff and allows them to plan for their future and the future of their families
Department of Health spokesman

"The Department of Health must be instructed to put a one-year deal on the table that GMB members can accept."

Midwives have already argued for a one-year increase of 2.75%, which was recommended by a pay-review body before the government intervened to press for a longer deal.

Dame Karlene Davis, general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), said earlier this week: "We have strongly argued that, given the outlook for the economy in future years, acceptance of the three-year deal would represent a vote for a real-terms pay cut."

RCM leaders will meet next month to consider the ballot result, by which time Unison and the RCN will also have the results from the ballots of their members.

A Department of Health spokesperson the offer was "a good deal".

He added: "A multi-year deal ensures security for staff and allows them to plan for their future and the future of their families."


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