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Staff at final ambulance trust vote to join strikes

Published on: 8 Feb 2023

Staff at the East of England ambulance trust – the only one to escape strike action so far – have voted to join the industrial action.

Each of the three unions in ambulance service (GMB, Unite and Unison) have held strikes across several UK ambulance trusts since December, but none of the three had secured a mandate to strike at the East of England trust.

However, GMB today announced that, having held another ballot, its members there had voted for strike action. 

No strike dates have been announced, but GMB is planning strikes in other ambulance trusts for 6 and 20 March (as is Unite), and it seems likely the East of England will join these.

The union said it had nearly 1,000 members in the EoE trust. It needs to give two weeks’ notice, meaning members there cannot join the planned 20 February action. The full currently planned NHS strike action is shown in the charts below.

Meanwhile, Unison is reballoting in five ambulance trusts where it does not currently have a mandate: South East Coast, South Central, East of England, East Midlands and West Midlands. The ballot closes next Thursday, so these members may also potentially join action in March.

Reballots have been driven by poor turnout in the first ballot. A strike ballot requires 50 per cent of affected members to take part to meet a legal threshold.

Unions are objecting to the government’s Agenda for Change pay settlement for 2022-23, which gave all staff a minimum of £1,400 but for most was well below inflation, which increased steeply last year.

An East of England Ambulance Service Trust spokesperson said: “We are aware that members of the GMB union have voted in favour in industrial action over the national issue of pay.

“We understand the strength of feeling behind the concerns colleagues have around this issue and we are committed to working with our unions to improve working lives at our service.”