Unison boss states Government “adamantly refused” to engage in a “proper discussion” on pay ahead of December's ambulance strikes
Unison general secretary Christina McAnea said that the ongoing ambulance strikes will continue to go ahead without a “very firm commitment” on pay, as the Government has “adamantly refused” to engage in a “proper discussion” about pay rises.
Around 10,000 ambulance staff in England and Wales were on strike on several days throughout December. This follows multiple nurses’ strikes, which led to thousands of rescheduled appointments and surgeries.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay has voiced his concerns about the strikes, stating that there was a lack of clarity when it came to what services were still being offered during the ambulance strike, and that the unions had to ensure they “met their obligations” for emergency cover.
Under trade union laws, lifepreserving care must be provided during the strikes. To ensure this, unions have said that discussions are still taking place with ambulance Trusts to draw up detailed plans for cover. However, the Government called in the armed forces to help, with 750 military staff using civilian ambulances, 600 drivers and 150 support staff.
The nurses’ strike saw around 10,000 staff absent while nearly 16,000 appointments, procedures and surgeries were rescheduled.
Both Unison and the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) union have threatened further strikes in 2023 if an agreement isn’t reached.