Britain: NHS staff plan strike to save pensions

Issue 

Unions have warned that Britain's National Health Service faces its biggest strike in history on November 30 unless the government drops its changes to workers' pension plans, the Morning Star said on October 14.

NHS workers' union GMB has condemned the government's plans. NHS national officer Rehana Azam said health minister Andrew Lansley “is ignoring the very strong arguments we made and turning his back on the anger and frustration felt by NHS staff”.

"We want to make progress in the talks to head off strike action in the NHS,” Azam said, “but the minister must start listening and act quickly".

Public sector union Unison, which has begun balloting more than 1 million members over strike plans, said the changes would lead to "pensioner poverty" for millions of workers. It said the changes would push workers onto benefits such as pension credit, council tax benefit and housing benefit.

On October 14, a further 1000 workers joined the swelling number of trade unionists being balloted for industrial action on November 30. Transport union RMT said its members at the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and Orkney Ferries would vote on action, on top of its 300 members working on the Tyne and Wear Metro.