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Unions ballot council workers over potential nationwide strike


Some of the biggest unions in the country are balloting their members to assess the appetite for industrial action, due to ongoing anger over the 1% pay offer for workers in the public sector.

Unions involved so far include UNISON, Unite, GMB and the NUT. The ballot will go out to hundreds of thousands of workers, including teachers, midwives and social workers, around the country.  

The results will be announced throughout this week. UNISON is due to reveal the outcome of its vote today, with Unite and GMB set to announce theirs later in the week. 

If the proposals are passed, the unions are suggesting a day of general action on 10 July.

UNISON alone has balloted 600,000 of its members. General secretary David Prentis predicts the industrial action could be bigger than the 1926 general strike, when 1.7 million workers walked out across the UK. 

UNISON head of local government Heather Wakefield called the Government's 1% pay-rise offer the "straw that broke the camel's back" after years of pay freezes. 

"This offer is effectively another pay freeze for the majority of our local government and school members, and they have used this consultation to send a strong message that it is insulting and unacceptable," she said.

"Local government workers have kept services running in our communities in the face of the Government's harsh austerity agenda, and they deserve more than just a bare minimum pay increase."

Royal College of Midwives director of policy, employment relations and communications Jon Skewes criticised health secretary Jeremy Hunt for his part in restricting nursing staff's pay. 

"This is the time for midwives to take a stand because the Government is intent on assaulting their pay and conditions," he said.