The official date that ambulance trusts across the UK will strike has been confirmed. Ambulance workers are disputing over issues such as pay and patient safety.
It was revealed in November that more than 10,000 ambulance workers in England and Wales had voted in favour of industrial action. Paramedics, emergency care assistants, 999 call handlers are among the staff walking out.
Workers took issue with the Government’s offer of a 4% pay award which unions regarded as a pay cut. It is understood that the offer did not meet the rate of inflation, which is currently at a 40 year high of 11.1%.
Rachel Harrison, who is GMB Union’s national secretary, issued an official statement which says: ““Ambulance workers – like other NHS workers – are on their knees. Demoralised and downtrodden, they’ve faced twelve years Conservative cuts to the service and their pay packets, fought on the frontline of a global pandemic and now face the worst cost of living crisis in a generation.
“No one in the NHS takes strike action lightly – today shows just how desperate they are. This is as much about unsafe staffing levels and patient safety as it is about pay. A third of GMB ambulance workers think delays they’ve been involved with have led to the death of a patient.
She continued: “Something has to change or the service as we know it will collapse. GMB calls on the Government to avoid a Winter of NHS strikes by negotiating a pay award that these workers deserve.”
Jason Kirkham, a Unite member and a paramedic in the West Midlands added: “This strike isn’t just about pay - it is to save the NHS. The NHS is crumbling. We can’t recruit and retain staff as pay is so low. It has gotten so bad that we have had to open a food bank in my ambulance station.”
Now GMB Union, Unison and Unite have officially confirmed strike dates, with members set to walkout just days before Christmas. The following UK trusts will see its ambulance workers go on strike on Wednesday, December 21 and Wednesday, December 28:
- South West Ambulance Service
- South East Coast Ambulance Service
- North West Ambulance Service
- South Central Ambulance Service
- North East Ambulance Service
- East Midlands Ambulance Service
- West Midlands Ambulance Service
- Welsh Ambulance Service
- Yorkshire Ambulance Service