GMB union votes to accept NHS pay offer after Unite rejects government deal
Members of the GMB union have voted to accept the government's pay offer for NHS staff.
The union balloted its members - who include ambulance workers and other NHS staff - and 56% voted in favour of the deal, which would give NHS workers a one-off payment of between £1,250 and £2,000 and a 5% pay rise for the coming year.
Members of the largest NHS union, Unison, have already voted to accept the offer, but earlier today, Unite rejected it by a vote of 52% to 48%.
Politics latest updates:
BBC 'dragged through mud' in Tory row
The Royal College of Nursing has also turned down the deal and is planning additional strikes this weekend - though the length of the walkout was curtailed after the government took them to court.
Earlier today, Great Ormond Street Hospital, the well-known children's hospital, declared a "business continuity incident" ahead of the action, saying it had "serious concerns over safely staffing the hospital" during the strikes.
Health secretary Steve Barclay said the acceptance of the deal by Unison and the GMB "demonstrates it is a fair and reasonable proposal that can bring this dispute to an end".
'More needs to be done'
The national secretary of GMB, Rachel Harrison, said the new pay offer wouldn't have happened without the industrial action that had taken place over recent months.
"Our members recognise that progress has been made - from the government originally offering nothing, health workers will be thousands of pounds better off," she added.
"It also meets a key GMB demand of a huge pay uplift for the lowest paid, lifting them above the Real Living Wage.
"But so much more needs to be done for workers if we are all to get the NHS we need."
Ms Harrison said the GMB would now vote to accept the offer at a meeting of the NHS Staff Council next week.
But she did call for further action for its ambulance worker members "starting by addressing their retirement and unsocial hours enhancements concerns".
She added: "Today is just one step in the battle to restore NHS workers' decade of lost earnings.
"GMB will continue this fight, so that the NHS and ambulance workers, who serve and care for the public, finally get the fair deal they deserve."
Mr Barclay said: "I've always said I want a fair resolution that recognises the outstanding job of NHS staff and also protects the government's commitment to halve inflation - and I'm hopeful the NHS Staff Council accepts our offer when they meet next week."
Elsewhere, the National Education Union confirmed on Friday that it would be balloting its members again over whether they wanted to stage further walkouts over pay and conditions.
The government had offered teachers a £1,000 payment for the current school year - on top of an average 5.4% rise last September - plus an average 4.5% rise next year.
But it was roundly rejected by the union's members who called the offer "insulting" and said between 42% and 58% of schools would have to make cuts to afford it.
Four education unions could now come together to see both teachers and head teachers coordinate strike action later in the year if the government doesn't move.
The NEU's joint general secretary, Dr Mary Bousted, has written to education secretary Gillian Keegan to warn about possible joint action.
She said: "This action should be entirely unnecessary. Despite both the governments in Wales and Scotland reaching a settlement, Gillian Keegan has wilfully washed her hands of anything to do with the dispute for a fully funded pay rise for teachers in England.
"The secretary of state who remains, by some distance, the biggest obstacle to getting a sensible resolution, needs to address this issue head-on and come to the negotiating table with all the education unions.
"This wilful lack of engagement will be something that parents and teachers will not forget."
A Department for Education spokesperson said: "For unions to coordinate strike action with the aim of causing maximum disruption to schools is unreasonable and disproportionate, especially given the impact the pandemic has already had on their learning.
"Children's education has always been our absolute priority and they should be in classrooms where they belong.
"We have made a fair and reasonable teacher pay offer to the unions, which recognises teachers' hard work and commitment as well as delivering at additional £2bn in funding for schools, which they asked for."