Up to 100,000 members of the union Unite are still set to stage a day of action on Thursday to protest against changes to NHS pensions.
Unite health members with colleagues from the Public and Commercial Services Civil Service Union (PCS) are due to convene at Central Hall, Westminster at 1pm in London for a rally.
Unite states that NHS members including health visitors, pharmacists and paramedics now face, on average, an extra £30-a-month to pay for their pensions. In its ballot 94% of Unite members in health voted to reject the government’s proposal on pensions.
Health Minister Simon Burns has condemned Unite’s decision to take industrial action.
“The NHS and those working in the health service should never take action that would harm patients. No concessions will be won through the threat or use of industrial action. Staff should consider carefully whether going on strike is the right thing to do. It is disappointing that some Unite members have voted against the proposals. However, only 25% of Unite members voted.
“Pension reform is necessary because people are living longer, healthier lives. The Proposed Final Agreement will protect all those within ten years of their pension age from any further change. Most low and middle earners working a full career to their new pension age will receive pension benefits at least as good, if not better, than they get now.”
Dean Royles, director of NHS Employers recently expressed ‘serious concerns’ about NHS trusts being prepared for the planned action.
He stated: “I recognise that the union is disenamoured about pensions, but patients must be our first priority.”