Staff at Medway Maritime Hospital are striking for the first time in over three decades today.
The trade unions Unison, Unite and the Royal College of Midwives have confirmed some of their members who work at the hospital will be taking part in strike action between 7am and 11am.
Their members, who include nurses, midwives, paramedics, therapists, cooks, cleaners, healthcare assistants and admin staff, voted yes for industrial action over pay, with 68% voting in favour.
According to Unison 60% of NHS staff, including 70% of nurses, have been denied a pay increase this year.
Tony Jones, Unison’s South-East head of health, said: “NHS members don’t take action often or lightly. For many of our members this will be the first time they walk out as the last action over pay was 32 years ago.
“Staff are on average 10% worse off than when the coalition came to power, and this means their families are suffering and morale is hitting rock bottom. A well motivated workforce saves lives, so we need to cherish and support our NHS staff.
“The NHS runs on the goodwill of its workers, but this government has shown utter contempt for them by refusing to give any pay increase to the vast majority this year and next.”
A spokeswoman for the Medway NHS Foundation Trust said the hospital would be fully operational and added: “We have been aware of the possibility of this strike for some time and had been able to plan in advance to avoid hospital services and patients being adversely affected.
“Staff have co-operated by liaising with managers to let them know if they are planning to be on strike. All staff who are in work will be required to work normally.”
The trust declined to comment on the number of staff who would be striking, or the measures in place to make up for the lost labour, in the already failing hospital.
The strike was to be followed by further action between Tuesday and Friday, for members to stop working through their breaks, but this was cancelled last week.
South East Coast Ambulance Service workers will also be taking part in industrial action for four hours staring at 7am today, and NHS radiographers are also to strike for four hours on October 20.