The health union Unite has warned of a “real prospect of strike action” if its members reject the government’s revised pension offer.

Unite’s NHS executive agreed yesterday to ballot its 100,000 health members if there has been no significant change in the government’s position by 20 February. The executive recommends rejecting the offer.

Len McCluskey, general secretary of the union, said: “There have been no substantive changes from what was on the table before Christmas - our hard working members will still be expected to pay more, work longer and get less when they retire.

“The government’s attacks on public sector pensions are politically driven, as part of the strategy to privatise the NHS, cut public services, break-up the national pay agreements, and disrupt legitimate trade union activities and organisation.”

The government produced a revised offer just before Christmas which it said was the best that could be negotiated with the unions. However, Unite rejected the offer. although it has continued to talk with the Department of Health.