Thousands of ambulance workers go on strike today – as junior doctors announce when they will stage walkout | UK News
Thousands of ambulance workers are going on strike today in their ongoing dispute over pay and staffing.
The strike will involve more than 11,000 members of the GMB union in England and Wales, along with some members of the Unite union.
It comes as the number of health workers taking industrial action continues to grow, with junior doctors set to go on strike next month.
Speaking on behalf of ambulance workers, GMB national secretary Rachel Harrison said they will walk out “because this government is tin-eared”.
“It has been over a month since the government engaged in any meaningful dialogue,” she said.
“They are missing in action and refuse to talk pay.”
She added: “Solving the issue of pay is vital if we’re going to stem the tide of dedicated healthcare workers leaving the profession.”
Junior doctors in the Hospital Consultants and Specialists Association (HCSA) have said they will strike in England on Wednesday 15 March.
Some 97.48% of members voted in favour of what will be the first strike in the union’s history.
HCSA president Dr Naru Narayanan said: “Junior doctors have held together patient care amid a spiralling staffing crisis.
“In return for this huge emotional, mental and physical toll they’ve been subjected to a decade of real-terms pay cuts totalling over 26%. Enough is enough.”
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Around 45,000 junior doctors who are members of the British Medical Association (BMA) have also been balloted on strike action – with the result due at the end of February.
The BMA has warned it will stage a three-day strike if there is a “yes” vote.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “As part of a multi-year deal we agreed with the BMA, junior doctors’ pay has increased by a cumulative 8.2% since 2019/20.
“We also introduced a higher pay band for the most experienced staff and increased rates for night shifts.”
Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “Strikes are in nobody’s best interests and only cause further disruption for patients, despite contingency measures in place.
“It is time unions engaged constructively with the pay review body process for 2023/24 and cancelled strikes so we can move forward and continue tackling the COVID-19 backlog.
“I’ve been clear throughout that I remain keen to keep talking to unions about what is fair and affordable for the coming financial year, as well as wider concerns around conditions and workload so we can make the NHS a better place to work.”
Nurses will continue their action with a 48-hour strike starting on 1 March, with the Royal College of Nursing saying it has received £250,000 in public donations since starting its campaign in December.
RCN general secretary Pat Cullen said: “There isn’t a person in this country whose life hasn’t been impacted by a nurse and that’s why the public are with us every step of the way.”