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Saturday, 18 November, 2023

Ambulance workers to strike on Friday in dispute over pay and staffing

Ambulance workers to strike on Friday in dispute over pay and staffing

About 15,000 members of Unison in five areas will walk out

Ambulance workers in England will stage a fresh strike on Friday in the long-running dispute over pay and staffing, with no sign of a breakthrough in the increasingly bitter row.

About 15,000 members of Unison in five areas will walk out, with officials warning of escalating action in the coming weeks unless the deadlock is broken.

Unison is balloting another 10,000 of its ambulance members in England for industrial action, so any further strikes could be the biggest yet for the union.

Head of health Sara Gorton said there was a “gap” between what the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and other ministers were saying in public about having “constructive talks” with unions, compared with what was actually happening.

She told the PA news agency she believed the Government was now “sitting it out” and waiting for the next pay round rather than trying to negotiate a deal to resolve the current dispute.

Any recommendation from the NHS Pay Review Body about next year’s pay is not expected for months, she said.

Union officials think the Government believes support for the strikes will fall, but they say the opposite is happening.

Ms Gorton said an increased pay offer to health and teaching unions in Wales shows what can be achieved through proper negotiations.

The increased pay offer to firefighters is also evidence of how important dialogue can be, she said.

Ms Gorton said any chance of resolving the NHS dispute must now involve the Treasury.

Picket lines will be mounted outside hospitals on Friday at the end of another week of industrial unrest across the country.

The strike involves ambulance workers across five services in England – London, Yorkshire, the South West, North East and North West.

University lecturers will be on strike again on Friday in a separate dispute over pay, pensions and conditions, while physiotherapists in England walked out on Thursday.

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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