Headlines: September 9th, 1999

The sabre-rattling has begun over the prospect of strike action by NHS
workers if a three per cent pay offer is not improved upon.

UNISON says plans for NHS workers who are not doctors or nurses to be
offered a lower percentage pay rise this year fly in the face of partnership
initiatives being put forward for the improvement of the service.

The union is to ballot up to 200,000 NHS staff not covered by pay review
bodies on whether they are prepared to take industrial action.

The ballot is next month and any action could fall across Christmas, and
also the eve of the new century, when emergency services are expected to be
stretched to their limit.

UNISON, which represents ambulance workers, scientists, professional,
technical, administrative, clerical and ancillary staff is unhappy that the
traditional link between rises for care staff and the rest of the NHS
workforce has been broken this year.

This meant such such workers missed out on the 4.7 per cent award for nurses
or the 3.5 per cent given to doctors.