Sheffield trade union chiefs backs NHS strike

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Sheffield Trade Union Council has voiced its reasons for supporting NHS workers that plan to take strike action in the city.

Workers are set to walk out on strike from 7am until 11am tomorrow and will then exercise a week of ‘work-to-rule’, in which they will take their full breaks.

It is the second NHS strike action in as many months as part of a row over pay.

STUC secretary Martin Mayer, said: “NHS workers including nurses, midwives, porters and technical staff will be taking another round of strike action on Monday and they deserve our support.

“This Coalition Government has hammered pay and conditions for NHS workers since 2010 and now Jeremy Hunt Secretary of State has refused to implement even the measly one per cent pay rise recommended by the Government’s own pay review body.

“They should be congratulated on taking the very tough decision to take strike action and fighting back against five years of pay cuts in real terms under this Government’s austerity programme.”

The strike action will affect Sheffield’s Northern General and Hallamshire hospitals as well as the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

There will be two end-of-strike rallies outside both hospitals at 10am, with a range of speakers including John Cafferty, UNISON Regional Secretary, Liz Elfleet, from the Society Of Radiographers, Jacqui Milner, from Sheffield Pensioners Action Group and Louise Haigh, prospective parliamentary candidate for Sheffield Heeley.

The STUC said it believes this year’s pay freeze is down to the Tories and LibDems’ NHS privatisation drive under the NHS Reform Act.

Martin added: “This attack on pay is directly linked to the Coalition Government’s privatisation drive of the NHS - in the face of massive public opposition. But these new health service privateers - including global multinationals and profit hungry corporations like Care UK - are put off by decent NHS pay and conditions which eat into their profits.

“That’s the real reason why Jeremy Hunt is refusing to implement even an across the board below inflation rise of just one per cent.”