Ambulance workers announce new strikes in escalation of bitter pay dispute

Ambulance workers announce new strikes in escalation of bitter pay dispute

Unite has announced a series of new strikes by ambulance workers in an escalation of the bitter dispute over pay and staff.

The union said its members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will stage 10 more strikes in the coming weeks, warning that additional dates could be announced soon.

Unite ambulance workers are now set to walk out next Monday as the bitter dispute with the government remains deadlocked.

Unite Secretary General Sharon Graham said: “Rather than act to protect the NHS and negotiate an end to the dispute, the government has shamefully chosen to demonize ambulance workers.

“Ministers are deliberately misleading the public about life and limb coverage and who is to blame for excess deaths.

“Our members faithfully provide life and limb coverage on strike days and it is not the unions that do not provide minimum levels of service.

“It is this government’s disastrous handling of the NHS that has brought it to breaking point, and as a crisis builds up, the prime minister is seen to be washing his hands of the dispute. What a disgrace. What an abdication of leadership.”

The recently announced strike will involve Unite members in the North West, North East, East Midlands, West Midlands, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Unite said that, as with previous strikes, its representatives will work regionally to agree exceptions to ensure emergency protection for life and limb is in place during the action.

Other derogations will ensure that patients who need vital treatment, such as kidney care and cancer treatment, are transported to their appointments, the union said.

Unite official Onay Kasab said: “The resolution of this dispute is in the hands of the government.

“This dispute will only be resolved when he enters into proper negotiations on the current wage dispute.

“The government’s constant attempts to bust the can and its talk of one-time payments, or slight wage increases in the future, just aren’t good enough to resolve this dispute.”

Unite gave details of when its members employed by different ambulance trusts will be on strike.

West Midlands: February 6 and 17 and March 6 and 20. Northeast: February 6 and 20 and March 6 and 20. East Midlands: February 6 and 20 and March 6 and 20. Wales: February 6 and 20 and March 6 and 20. Northwest: February 6 and 22 and March 6 and March 20. Northern Ireland: January 26 and February 16, 17, 23 and 24.

Members of the Royal College of Nursing and GMB ambulance workers are on strike on February 6, while the GMB has also called strikes on February 20, as well as March 6 and 20.

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