Biggest NHS union asks staff to vote on strike action
The biggest health union is asking 350,000 NHS staff, – including porters, nurses, paramedics and clears – to vote in favour of strike action in a dispute over pay.
The ballot is for members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
A Scottish ballot of 50,000 members has been suspended after a new offer.
The Westminster government has urged staff to consider the impact of a walkout on patients.
The government pointed out it had given staff a rise in line with what had been independently recommended by the official NHS Pay Review Body.
In England and Wales, NHS staff have been given an average of 4.75% more, with extra for the lowest paid.
In Northern Ireland, nurses are yet to receive the pay award.
In Scotland, ministers upped their initial offer of 5% to a flat rate of just over £2,200, which is worth more than 11% to the lowest paid, prompting Unison leaders there to suspend its ballot, which had been due to close on Monday.