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NHS ambulance workers across England in strike ballot over pay

Christian Fernsby |
Around 2,700 ambulance workers across England are to be balloted for strike action over pay, Unite, the UK’s leading union, said.

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The workers, including paramedics and emergency call handlers, are angry over the four per cent NHS Agenda for Change pay award, which was imposed last month, and falls well short of the real cost of living (12.3%).

The imposed award meant most staff received a little over £100 per month more in their pay packet.

More than 2,500 NHS workers in Scotland are being balloted by Unite and ballots for health care workers in Wales will also begin soon, so that resultant industrial action is coordinated across the UK.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “For years, NHS staff have seen their wages eroded while their jobs have become ever-more demanding. With rocketing inflation, the situation is now critical – this real terms pay cut will mean more overworked and underpaid NHS workers leaving the service at a time when understaffing is already putting patients at risk.

“Unite is taking coordinated industrial action because our members are angry and exhausted, with many struggling to keep their heads above water. The government now needs to step up and find some money to pay these workers and to defend our NHS.”

Workers at the West Midlands, North West, Yorkshire, South Central, South East Coast, East of England, London, East Midlands, South Western and North East Ambulance Service Trusts will be balloted for strike action in the coming days. The results of the ballots are expected in early December.

In a recent consultative ballot over pay, Unite members employed by English NHS organisations that use Agenda for Change voted by 84 per cent for industrial action over the government’s pay deal. Nearly all (97 per cent) said that the pay award announced by the UK government back in July 2022 was unfair.

Similar results were also recorded in consultative NHS ballots in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

This week, Unite’s Health National Industrial Sector Committee approved a UK-wide plan that will see Unite members balloted in phases for industrial action over pay in Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Unite national officer for health, Colenzo Jarret Thorpe, said: “The government must put forward a better pay deal and one that does some not come out of existing, soon to be horrifically squeezed, budgets.

“As well as ambulance workers, we will be balloting other NHS members in strategic locations for strike action in the coming weeks. NHS workers cannot carry on like this. Waiting lists are lengthening and healthcare staff are leaving in alarming numbers. Unite is determined to win a better deal for our deserving members.”


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