Unite threatens new NHS pension strike ballot

Protesters in London Many public servants struck in November against plans to pay more and work longer for their pensions

The Unite trade union says it may hold a fresh strike ballot of its 100,000 members in the NHS over their continuing pension dispute.

The union's leadership has already rejected a draft agreement proposed by the government in December.

In November, staff throughout the public sector staged a national one-day strike against the proposed changes.

Since then, union opposition has become divided, with some agreeing to further talks which others have rejected.

Meanwhile, leaders of the Fire Brigades Union are also threatening to strike over proposed changes to their pension scheme.

They said there would be a "rapid move" towards a strike ballot after finding the government's proposals "unacceptable".

Unite's general secretary, Len McCluskey said: "There have been no substantive changes from what was on the table before Christmas - our hard-working members will still be expected to pay more, work longer and get less when they retire."

"'Our members are deeply unhappy at the government's stance and we will be holding a consultative ballot to reaffirm our members' position - the prospect of further strike action will be very real, unless ministers move on their hardline position."

Unite said it wanted meaningful negotiations before the government's own deadline of 20 February.

State of the talks

Sector Union Reaction
Local government


Rejected the proposed deal


To continue negotiating


Has agreed to move on to the next level of negotiation. It has 250,000 members



To continue negotiating

British Medical Association (BMA)

The BMA, which represents doctors, is consulting its members

Royal College of Nursing (RCN)

Consulting its members


Rejected the deal in early January. It has 100,000 members in the NHS


To continue negotiating



Refused to endorse the latest offer and has called for more negotiations


Refused to endorse the latest offer and has called for more negotiations


Considered the deal the best it could get in negotiations, will consult members, and the executive will announce its decision on 28 January


Committee meets on 20 January before consulting members

Civil service


The largest civil service union, has been the most vocal in rejecting proposed changes to the scheme from the outset. It has threatened further strikes.

The Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance (Nipsa)

Rejected the deal


Agreed to continue negotiations


Agreed to further negotiations

Prison Officers' Association

Refused to sign up to the latest deal

More on This Story

More Business stories



  • A very clever little girlBrain gain

    Why are people getting better at intelligence tests?

  • BeefaloBeefalo hunt

    The hybrid animal causing havoc in the Grand Canyon

  • A British Rail signBringing back BR

    Would it be realistic to renationalise the railways?

  • Banksy image of girl letting go of heart-shaped balloonFrom the heart

    Fergal Keane on the relationship between love and politics

  • Don Roberto Placa Quiet Don

    The world's worst interview - with one of the loneliest men on Earth

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.