More trusts vote to strike
Staff at another four ambulance services have voted to take strike action in the ongoing dispute over pay, the union Unison has announced.
Following a re-ballot of 10 NHS employers in England, staff at East of England, East Midlands, South Central and West Midlands ambulance trusts have voted to take action. It means more than 12,000 staff will now be able to join walkouts by Unison members at ambulance services in London, Yorkshire, the North East, the North West and the South West.
Unison is one of the three major unions for ambulance workers, the other two being GMB and Unite. All three have been involved in industrial action on various dates since last December.
The union currently has no upcoming dates for ambulance service strikes, although both GMB and Unite do. Unison’s last ambulance service strike was on 10 February.
It was also announced Unison members at five other organisations had voted to take industrial action, at Bridgewater Community Healthcare, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, Liverpool Women’s, and Tavistock and Portman foundation trusts, as well as NHS Blood and Transplant.
Christina McAnea, Unison’s general secretary, said: “It’s time the prime minister [Rishi Sunak] ditched his ‘do nothing’ strategy for dealing with escalating strikes across the NHS.
“Governments in other parts of the UK know what it takes to resolve disputes. Ministers in Scotland and Wales are talking to health unions and acting to boost pay for NHS staff this year.”
She added: “Health staff want to go back to work, and the public wants an NHS capable of delivering quality care. The prime minister must roll up his sleeves, invite the unions into Downing Street and start the genuine pay talks that could end this damaging dispute.”
Today’s announcement comes shortly after it was revealed nurses in emergency departments, intensive care units and cancer care are preparing to walk out for 48 consecutive hours in March in the ongoing dispute over pay.
Unions have urged ministers to open negotiations on the 2022-23 Agenda for Change pay deal, as the latest pay award is below current levels of inflation.
However, health and social care secretary Steve Barclay has insisted unions should engage in “constructive” talks for the 2023-24 pay round.