Thousands of NHS workers in Scotland including paramedics and call handlers are being balloted for strike action amid a pay dispute.
Over 2,500 workers are being targeted by the trade union across national and regional health boards following the rejection of a 5% pay rise offer in June.
Radiographers will also be balloted across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde except those directly involved in cancer care provision at the Beatson and breast screening as part of measures to protect the service in the event of any industrial action.
It comes after the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Scotland on began balloting its members for strike action for the first time in the union’s 106-year history.
RCN leaders said that they had “no option” but to ask members to vote for strike action, adding that “patient care” was suffering and branding staffing levels “unsafe”.
Meanwhile, Unison is already balloting more than 50,000 health workers on strike action, while the Royal College of Midwives in Scotland opened its vote last month.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The Scottish Government has refused to step up and back our health professionals with a decent and fair pay offer and Unite’s members across NHS Scotland are rightly angry.
“The heroes that we all applauded during the pandemic are being told to take a substantial real term pay cut – yet another hit on NHS pay. When inflation is well into double-digits, 5% just doesn’t cut it. NHS workers need to pay their bills and protect their families. Nobody wants to go on strike but they are being left with no choice now but to take a stand.
“Unite’s NHS Scotland members will have the full support of their union in their fight to secure better jobs, pay and conditions.”
A number of major hospitals and health services involving Unite members will be covered by the ballots including tradespeople and maintenance assistant workers in Inverness’ Raigmore Hospital and clinical perfusionists, theatre assistants, and anaesthetic nurses in the Golden Jubilee National Hospital.
Transport and logistics members at Ninewells Hospital, healthcare science support workers in blood sciences at Monklands Hospital, the decontamination unit across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and the Scottish Microbiology Reference Lab will also be featured in the ballot.
Voting opens on Thursday, October 6 and will close by November 4.
In August, Unite confirmed that its NHS membership rejected the Scottish Government’s 5% pay offer, and supported strike action in a consultative ballot.
Thousands of Unite members voted to reject the current pay offer, while 77% of those polled also indicated that they would be prepared to take industrial action up to and including strike action.
The union says that the current pay offer represents a significant real-terms pay cut for health service workers when the broader cost of living has hit a 40-year high.