Tens of thousands of “exhausted” healthcare workers are fed up with being “taken for granted” and have voted overwhelmingly to challenge the government’s 3% wage increase.

The Unison union said a consultation showed four in five of its members opposed the pay hike. He also warned that many health workers are likely to quit and leave the industry for less stressful, better paid jobs elsewhere.

The health workforce, which includes nurses, health assistants, paramedics and hospital porters, felt “so disappointed” that they wanted to stop “overnight,” he said. declared.

The Department of Health has said the increase will be worth an additional £ 1,000 per year for the average nurse in England, while many porters and cleaners will receive around £ 540.

But Unison has called for a pay rise of at least £ 2,000, saying inflation has already erased the pay rise NHS workers have received.

The union is expected to launch a ballot to see how many of its members would be prepared to take sustained and widespread industrial action against the government’s decision.

Unison Chief Health Officer Sara Gorton said: “The fact that so many health workers say they are ready to unite to challenge the 3% should make the government think twice.

“Many feel so disappointed that they tell us they want to quit overnight.

Boris Johnson has said he will give the NHS what it needs. Instead, rising costs mean staff won’t be any better off, leading to further morale, burnout and disillusionment.

“Hospital admissions are increasing, the backlog seems overwhelming and the threat of the worst winter ever looms.

“Unison has given the salary review body and the government convincing evidence that a minimum increase of £ 2,000 would be enough to persuade people to stay. But the two chose to ignore it.

The Royal College of Nursing also urged the government to reconsider the award of compensation after its members voted in a poll that it was unacceptable. Other unions also vote on the salaries of health workers.

Recent research from the House of Commons Library suggests the lowest paid NHS workers will face a pay cut next year with the end of the universal credit increase and a new health care tax and health care effectively wiping out their 3% pay rise.