Hospital staff voting in industrial action ballot

West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds.'UNISON members from West Suffolk Hospital vote 'YES' to strike in protest against changes to their pensions. ''Pictured;
West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St Edmunds.'UNISON members from West Suffolk Hospital vote 'YES' to strike in protest against changes to their pensions. ''Pictured;
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STAFF at West Suffolk Hospital are voting on whether to strike over controversial public sector pension reforms.

They are among millions of workers across the country who are being urged by leading trade union Unison to take part in a ballot on industrial action.

The union organised a seminar at the hospital on Tuesday for staff to discuss the pension changes, which include upping contributions by 25 to 70 per cent and the retirement age to 68.

Speaking to the Bury Free, Emma Crooks, a paediatric dietician, said: “Both my parents died in their 60s and if my life expectancy is the same as theirs then I will die in service. I don’t think it’s fair that I’m being forced to pay more when expenditure on everything is going up.”

Judy Sore, a team leader in health records, said: “I’ve worked here for 25 years and we go above and beyond the call of duty. I’m near to retirement age and always thought I would have a good pension and now it isn’t going to be so good.”

Suzanne Joslin, a physiotherapist, added: “It’s unfair. A lot of people have signed up to a pension and now it isn’t going to be what they expected.”

Graham Kendall, Unison branch secretary for Bury and district health, said: “We want the Government to take note that what they’re doing isn’t in the best interests of public sector workers.” The strike could be held on November 30. A hospital spokesman said: “We have contingency plans in place which will enable us to continue delivering a full service to our patients at all times.”