Responding to the Unison ‘yes’ vote today to proceed to a ballot on possible industrial action – comment from Dean Royles, Chief Executive of the NHS Employers organisation.
Mr Royles said: “I understand the frustration and anger some staff and trade unions feel over the announcement about a pay award this year. Of course I do. I also understand concerns that this decision on pay may impact on morale and motivation. But as an employers’ organisation we also acutely recognise the impact job losses and redundancies would have on morale and on patient care, which was the stark choice we faced when we gave our recommendations to the pay review. We want to ensure we maximise our ability to retain staff and plan changes to how we work in response to the changing needs of patients.
“The decision to ballot for industrial action at a union conference is no surprise. They will want to show their displeasure but my simple, honest ask is that they don't take that displeasure and frustration out on patients. People accessing healthcare are often at their most vulnerable and the very prospect of strikes when they should be receiving care will be deeply distressing for many. Given these challenging times across the economy, I would urge unions instead to engage with us in meaningful discussions about how to come out of a period of pay restraint in sensible way. Then we can explore solutions affecting the lowest paid and plan for the longer term – not for short term disruption which will affect those in need.”