Talks to avert mass NHS strike23rd July 2007
Final discussions will be held in July by NHS bosses and unions to try to avert industrial action by over 1m health workers.
The two groups will meet on 24 July in an attempt to find a resolution to the ongoing dispute. Strike ballots are due to be held and industrial action could mean disturbance to NHS services in the coming months.
Unions have raised serious objections to the government's decision to stage pay rises of 2.5% in England - acting on the advice of an independent body - which has lessened the true value of the rise to only 1.9%.
Mike Jackson, lead negotiator of Unison, said previous discussions had not worked and NHS workers believed that the government had: "welched on a deal and is trying to impose a pay award that represents a pay cut in real terms."
He commented that the 2.5% rise was "well below the level of inflation" and health workers deserved more.
NHS workers in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are set to receive an increase in pay as recommended by the independent panel.
Mr Jackson said: "The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have decided not to stage the pay award but the UK Government is obstinately refusing to take any action to ensure nurses and others get a decent pay award."
Unison executives will decide if they will hold a strike ballot by the end of July.
A Department of Health spokesman said they would carry on discussions about the pay rise with the unions, but they believed it was a "fair award".
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