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NHS Unison workers won’t strike over pensions

By Alan Jones

A ballot of more than 300,000 NHS workers on the Government's controversial pension reforms showed just over half voted against, but in a low turnout of less than 15%.

Unison said the low numbers of staff in Northern Ireland, England and Wales who took part in the ballot reflected the low morale and current “difficult state” of the health service.

Of the 14.8% of workers balloted, 50.4% were against and 49.5% in favour. Unison said the result showed the pension changes were not being accepted, but equally, there was no mandate to take further industrial action. Unison members took part in last November's strike by more than a million-and-a-half public sector workers, but will not now join another day of action on May 10.

Christina McAnea, Unison's head of health, said: “The turnout is disappointing but in some ways is not unexpected. Our members in health, including nurses, paramedics and porters are in the second year of a pay freeze, many face job cuts and increasing pressure at work as well as attacks on their terms and conditions.”

Civil servants, NHS and defence staff in the Unite union and employees at the Royal Fleet Auxiliary will take action on May 10 in the continuing campaign against the pension reforms.

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