Thousands of NHS workers across Sussex will be balloted over strike action in a row over pay.

Unison is asking all of its members to back walkouts after the Government’s decision to not accept a recommended across-the-board 1% wage rise for NHS staff.

If approved, the industrial action will take place in early October, followed by further waves of strike action.

Hospitals across the county could face disruption if nurses, therapists, porters, paramedics, medical secretaries, cooks, cleaners and healthcare assistants decide to join picket lines.

The union said the Government decision not to implement the 1% pay rise of the NHS Pay Review Body would deny 60% of NHS staff and 70% of nurses a pay rise for the next two years.

Caroline Fife, Unison regional organiser for Sussex, said balloting for action was not an easy decision but staff felt they were not being recognised or rewarded by the Government for their work and the pressures they faced.

She said: “Staff work longer hours and are under huge stress as they cope in an environment where trusts constantly have to make savings.

“It is expensive to live in Brighton and Hove and so it is no surprise that NHS trusts are finding it difficult to recruit staff such as band-five nurses.

“This is a national issue and not directed at individual trusts, but we have reached a point where enough is enough. Staff have had pay freezes and very low pay increases below the rate of inflation. Wages are not keeping up with the cost of living.”

The ballot will begin on August 28 and run until September 18.

Members will be asked if they will take strike action or action short of a strike.

The GMB will also ballot its NHS members at the same time.

NHS workers are following teachers, firefighters, council employees and government workers who took part in a protest over pay conditions and pensions earlier this month.