More than 10,000 ambulance staff will join nurses in co-ordinated walkouts next month, in one of the biggest strikes in NHS history.
The GMB union has announced call handlers, emergency care assistants and paramedics will take action on 6 February at seven out of England’s 10 ambulance trusts. On the same day, Royal College of Nursing members are due to strike at 73 trusts.
GMB members will take further strike action on 20 February, as well as 6 and 20 March. In addition, workers at West Midlands Ambulance Service University Foundation Trust will strike on 23 January, and workers at North West Ambulance Service Trust will strike on 24 January.
The action on 6 February will mark the first time nurses and ambulance staff have gone on strike on the same day. Co-ordinated strike action was the greatest fear of NHS leaders when HSJ surveyed them before the industrial action began.
Announcing the fresh wave of strike action, GMB national secretary Rachel Harrison said: “GMB’s ambulance workers are angry. In their own words ‘they are done’.”
“Our message to the government is clear – talk pay now. Ministers have made things worse by demonising the ambulance workers who provided life and limb cover on strike days – playing political games with their scaremongering. The only way to solve this dispute is a proper pay offer.”
Unions have repeated calls for ministers to open negotiations on the 2022-23 Agenda for Change pay deal, as the ongoing dispute predominantly revolves around it being below current levels of inflation.
Media reports have suggested the government is considering offering deals, including one-off payments and growth for the 2023-24 pay round, but no formal moves have been made.