Ambulance strikes over pay set for either side of Christmas - The Leamington Observer

Ambulance strikes over pay set for either side of Christmas

Leamington Editorial 12th Dec, 2022   0

AMBULANCE service workers will be taking strike action over pay either side of Christmas.

Paramedics, emergency care assistants, call handlers and other staff at West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) will strike on December 21 and 28.

GMB Union say almost 3,000 people will walk out across WMAS and neighbouring East Midlands Ambulance Service as part of action being taken across the country.

Workers across the ambulance services and some NHS Trusts have voted to strike over the government’s imposed four per cent pay award which the union is calling ‘another massive real terms pay cut’.

GMB representatives will now meet with the trust to discuss requirements for life and limb cover.

Rachel Harrison, GMB national secretary, said: “Ambulance workers – like other NHS workers – are on their knees.

“Demoralised and downtrodden, they’ve faced 12 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.

“This is as much about unsafe staffing levels and patient safety as it is about pay.”

The Department for Health and Social Care say ambulances will still be able to respond to 999 calls and patients with non life-threatening conditions should contact 111.

Anyone with an appointment has been advised to turn up unless told not to.

Health and Social Care secretary, Steve Barclay, said: “NHS workers do an incredible job caring for our loved ones and it is disappointing some will be taking industrial action, ahead of a challenging winter.

“The economic circumstances mean unions’ demands are not affordable – each additional one per cent pay rise for all staff on the Agenda for Change contract would cost around £700 million a year.

“We’ve prioritised the NHS with record funding and accepted the independent pay review body’s recommendations to give over one million NHS workers a pay rise of at least £1,400 this year, with those on the lowest salaries receiving an increase of up to 9.3 per cent.

“This is on top of the three per cent award last year when wider public sector pay was frozen and on top of the wider government support to help with the cost of living.

“Our priority is to ensure emergency services continue to operate for those who need it and limit disruption, particularly at a time when NHS services are under huge pressure due to the impact of Covid.”

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