Thousands more ambulance workers set to join strikes over pay and staffing

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Thousands more ambulance workers have voted to strike in the long-running dispute over pay and staffing.

Unison said the growing NHS dispute will now cover ambulance services and other NHS organisations across most parts of England.

Announcing re-ballot results of thousands more health workers, Unison said staff at another four English ambulance services and five NHS organisations, including NHS Blood and Transplant, will now be able to strike in a “significant escalation“ of the dispute.

The union said ambulance staff at four services in England: South Central, East of England, West Midlands and East Midlands; had voted to take industrial action.

The 12,000 staff involved in the re-ballots can now take part in the ongoing dispute alongside their NHS colleagues at ambulance services in London, Yorkshire, the North East, North West and South West.

Since the dispute over pay and staffing began in December, staff at these service have taken strike action on four occasions.

Unison general secretary Christina McAnea said: “It’s time the Prime Minister ditched his do nothing strategy for dealing with escalating strikes across the NHS.

Strikes graphic
(PA Graphics)

“And Holyrood is really showing Westminster up. Health workers in Scotland have had a bigger pay rise this year and are set to get a decent wage increase in April following their Government’s latest offer.

“Sadly, health workers across England have been met with a wall of silence from Number 10. The Prime Minister stubbornly refuses to talk about pay, preferring to subject everyone to many months of disruption.

“The public must think the Westminster Government is living on another planet. They can see how talks in other parts of the UK have lifted the threat of strikes and cannot understand why the Prime Minister isn’t doing the same.

“Health staff want to go back to work, and the public wants an NHS capable of delivering quality care. The Prime Minister must roll up his sleeves, invite the unions into Downing Street and start the genuine pay talks that could end this damaging dispute.”

The GMB announced that its ambulance members in Wales had rejected an offer from the Welsh government.

Around 1,500 workers will now join a strike on Monday by almost 10,000 other GMB members across England.

Around two thirds of members in Wales rejected the offer, which saw an extra 3% added to the existing deal.

Nathan Holman, GMB Welsh official, said: “This is a clear result and members have had their say on the offer.

“We thank Welsh Government for actually entering talks, but if this is their final offer it’s too low for our members.

“Now more than ever, we need a UK-wide solution to the scourge of low pay that has affected our NHS and ambulance services.

“The only person who can take responsibility for that is Health Secretary Steve Barclay and it’s time for him to step up and talk pay now.

“Ambulance workers across England and Wales are waiting.”

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