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Industrial action

Hospital pharmacists may join new NHS strike on 24 November

Members of the Guild of Healthcare Pharmacists (GHP) are likely to be among NHS workers in England due to go on strike again over the government’s failure to implement the 1% pay rise recommended by the independent NHS Pay Review Body (PRB).

Unite, the trade union that incorporates the guild, has called a further four-hour stoppage in England on 24 November 2014 in protest at “the continual failure of health secretary Jeremy Hunt to engage with NHS staff over their declining pay”.

Around 4,000 NHS hospital pharmacists are members of the guild. But it is unclear how many will heed the strike call. GHP president Dave Thornton said the guild would support those who did: “The culture of relying on goodwill without any remuneration to maintain basic services has to be challenged, particularly when the Government has singled out NHS staff working in England and refused to pay what is actually a below-inflation pay rise.”

A Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) spokesperson said the RPS was confident that pharmacists would act in the best interest of patients by maintaining essential services.

Unite says the 7am to 11am strike will see the start of a work-to-rule period until 19 January 2015.

In Northern Ireland, Unite health members are maintaining their work-to-rule while the union organises further stoppages in light of an announcement that there would be no cost-of-living pay rise for workers there.

No action is planned in Scotland, where the devolved government has agreed to pay the recommended 1% rise. Talks are continuing in Wales.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2014.20067070

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