Sunday, 5 Feb 2023

Ambulance workers demand 6 more days of strikes

NHS ambulance workers across England man their picket lines

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Ambulance workers have announced plans to strike on six additional dates after rejecting another pay offer from the Government. Over 10,000 staff, including paramedics, call handlers, and care assistants, will walk out on February 6, February 20, March 6 and March 20.

GMB members voted to reject the four percent pay rise offer given by the Government because it still represents a “massive real terms pay cut” with inflation at 10.5 percent.

West Midlands ambulance workers will also strike on January 23 and Nort West Ambulance Service will do the same on January 24.

GMB says its members are “angry” and “are done” after another pay offer that does not meet their demands.

Rachel Harrison, GMB national secretary, said: “Our message to the government is clear – talk pay now.

“Ministers have made things worse by demonising the ambulance workers who provided life and limb cover on strike days – playing political games with their scaremongering.

“The only way to solve this dispute is a proper pay offer. But it seems the cold, dead hands of Number 10 and 11 Downing Street are stopping this from happening.

“In the face of government inaction, we are left with no choice but industrial action.

“GMB ambulance workers are determined, they’re not going to back down. It’s up to this government to get serious on pay. We are waiting.”

The ambulance services that will be impacted in February and March’s strikes are – South West, South East, North West, South Central, North East, East Midlands, Welsh, and Yorkshire.

Unite has also warned that further dates of strike action could be announced.

The union’s ambulance committee is meeting on Wednesday to decide new dates to put to its members.

In Wales, ambulance workers are already poised to go on strike on Thursday and next Monday.

The latest strike action comes after ambulance staff walked out this month – around 25,000 ambulance workers across England and Wales went on strike on January 11.

Unite represents 100,00 NHS workers, and the health service is also likely to be affected by more strike action from nurses.

Nursing staff from more than 55 NHS trusts are taking part in industrial action on Wednesday and Thursday having walked out for the first time ever in December.

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The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has also announced that more strikes will be held next month.

Around 30,000 operations and appointments were cancelled after strike action in December, and it is expected thousands more will have to be rescheduled if walkouts continue.

NHS England has advised patients to use services “wisely” by going to NHS 111 online but continuing to call 999 in a life-threatening emergency.

RCN chief executive Pat Cullen said: “Today’s strike action by nursing staff is a modest escalation before a sharp increase in under three weeks from now… People aren’t dying because nurses are striking. Nurses are striking because people are dying.”

The Government is refusing to budge thus far. Health Secretary Steve Barclay Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay has described RCN’s pay demands as “unaffordable.”

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