NHS ambulance staff build on strike threat by eyeing ballot in ‘near future’

A second strike could hit the NHS as trade unions Unison, GMB and Unite announced yesterday that they are asking ambulance staff whether to strike on pay freezes and grading.

As junior doctors staged their first all-out strike today, the unions began discussing strikes, saying a pay deal promised in January 2015 hasn’t appeared because NHS trusts lack the funding to pay for it.

Ambulance workers were among the NHS staff bodies striking in 2014 over the government’s refusal to increase pay, and the 1% pay increase introduced this year was described as “not good enough” by the Royal College of Midwives.

Today’s news essentially concretises previous threats that those in ambulance services would have to consider striking if the government kept “misleading staff over their promises”.

Rehana Azam, GMB’s national officer for the NHS, said: “GMB and other unions have been left with no alternative but to consult ambulance staff in England with the potential for an industrial action ballot in the near future.

“Professional ambulance staff cannot be expected to keep picking up the slack for government incompetence on promises to invest, promises they have failed to deliver on.”

Approximately 90% of ambulance drivers are complaining of job-related stress, and ambulance leaders are warning demand is at the highest level ever.

And late last year, news that over 1,000 paramedics left the ambulance service between April 2014 and March 2015, mostly due to inadequate pay, empowered countless NHS staff to come forward and share their stories.

Almost 50 commenters on NHE’s story recounted their experiences with poor paramedic pay and conditions. One commenter called it a “joke” that paramedics are on the Band 5 pay grade, arguing that salaries haven’t moved “with the changing scope of the profession”.

The strike discussions are taking place at Unison’s Health Conference 2016, which runs from 25 to 27 April at the Brighton Centre.

It follows the publication of a Unison report finding that 63% of nurses surveyed warned they didn’t have enough staff to provide a proper standard of patient care.

(Image c. Graham Richardson)


Tom86   28/04/2016 at 09:55

Paramedics and other ambulance staff are leaving, often not because of pay. This is a myth, sure everyone has bills to pay and with a meagre 1% rise, spiralling housing cost and an already undervalued service it is hardly surprising that people want fair pay for fair work. People are being over stretched, stressed and pushed to breaking point. This is not safe for patients and certainly not safe for staff welfare. Often the ambulance staff are in poorer health than patients, sleep deprived, low blood sugars due to no meal breaks and hypertensive from stress and mentally fragile from the trauma both phyiscally and mentally the job attracts. People are dispondant that they give EVERYTHING and get only ridicule from patients, papers and politicians. Yes they should be paid more but let's not forget the bigger picture. This all part of a government plan to crush and destroy the NHS. It's working. Paramedics can earn twice the salary going private. The same job and patients. Who you think pays the privates huge salaries using up most of the budget? Nhs does!!? Why? Because the Nhs service is understaffed......why......because of the above! Please read this, wake up to the situation as it's happening in all services. Unite with one another and make a stand. It doesn't have to be this way. The Nhs is there for us ALL so let's stand together as one and make our voices heard!!

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