Unite is planning a day of action against the three-year NHS pay deal.

Union members will take part in work-to-rule action on 3 December and have threatened possible strike action in January if no concessions are made.

Unite said the current offer of 8 per cent over three years was "derisory". The deal includes an increase of 2.75 per cent from April followed by 2.4 per cent in 2009-10 and 2.25 per cent in 2010-11.

Joint general secretary Derek Simpson said: "The government's strategy on the economy doesn't fit with its strategy on public sector pay.

"Our members voted to take industrial action for the first time and the government should take very serious notice."

The action will include a ban on "non-essential" paperwork, e-mail exchanges, attending meetings and telephone calls.

Unite national health officer David Fleming said there should be a full review of the government's public sector pay strategy.

He said: "We will clearly communicate to all our members what the day of action will mean; however, the welfare of clients and patients will be paramount and emergency cover maintained.

"We have a democratic mandate for this action and ministers should hear that our members are very angry at the continued below-inflation pay awards, in effect, pay cuts, and the undermining of the pay review body."