Thousands of ambulance staff across England will go on strike during the festive period this month in a dispute over pay, three unions have announced.
The GMB Union, Unison and Unite announced its members – including call handlers, paramedics and other 999 crew members – will walk out on December 21.
The GMB said action will be taken across eight English trusts, while Unison confirmed staff will walk out across five. Meanwhile, Unite confirmed more than 1,600 workers will strike on that day.
The unions have indicated the action will not affect “life-threatening” ambulance calls — but have so far declined to say what this means in detail, such as for responding to category two or three calls, or handling untriaged 999 calls.
GMB said its members would also strike on 28 December.
The only ambulance service trust in England and Wales not subject to strike action is the East of England Ambulance Service Trust.
Rachel Harrison, GMB’s national secretary, said health and social care secretary Steve Barclay “needs to listen and engage” with the union over pay. Sara Gorton, Unison’s head of health, said the government “will only have itself to blame” if there are strikes in the NHS before Christmas.
Royal College of Nursing members are due to strike on 15 and 20 December at nearly 60 trusts and systems in England — around half of those who voted to do so.
Other trade unions are expected to announce the results of their ballots soon, including the Royal College of Midwives whose ballot closes on December 9.
The government announced a pay award, which averaged £1,400 for most NHS staff on the Agenda for Change framework, for 2022-23 earlier this year but the news was met with widespread dismay as it fell well below inflation.