Health workers in England have voted overwhelmingly to oppose the Government’s 3% pay increase.
Unison said a consultation among its members showed that four out of five were not happy with the pay rise and want to challenge the Government.
Opposition to the pay rise will be discussed at Unison’s virtual health conference today.
The union said tens of thousands of “exhausted” staff, including nurses, healthcare assistants, ambulance workers and hospital porters, were fed up of being “taken for granted”.
With other sectors boosting wages to attract workers, Unison warned that many health staff are likely to quit for less stressful, better paid jobs elsewhere.
Inflation has already wiped out the wage rise NHS workers received, said Unison.
The union had called for a pay rise of at least £2,000, saying the 3% increase delivers this for NHS staff earning more than £70,000, but those on the lowest wages are receiving under £600.
The union will now launch an indicative ballot to see how many of its health members would be prepared to take the sustained and widespread industrial action it believes is needed to change the Government’s decision.
Unison head of health Sara Gorton said: “The fact that so many health staff say they are willing to stand together to challenge the 3% should make the Government think twice.
Today we've announced the outcome of our consultations on the NHS pay award in England and Wales. The majority of RCN members who voted say 3% is unacceptable. Read more in our news story. #FairPayforNursing https://t.co/cEPY5xRZKP
— The RCN (@theRCN) September 15, 2021
“Many feel so let down they’re telling us they feel like quitting overnight.
“Boris Johnson said he would give the NHS what it needed. Instead, rising costs mean staff will be no better off, adding to low morale, burnout and disillusion.
“Hospital admissions are rising, the backlog feels overwhelming, and the threat of the worst winter ever is looming large.
“Unison gave the pay review body and the Government compelling evidence that a minimum £2,000 rise would be enough to persuade people to stay. But both chose to disregard this.”
The Royal College of Nursing urged the Government to reconsider the pay award last week after its members said in a ballot that it was unacceptable.
Other unions are also balloting health workers over pay.