Thousands of ambulance workers to go on strike in England on February 10, union announces

31 January 2023, 11:49 | Updated: 31 January 2023, 12:51

Ambulance workers on strike
Ambulance workers on strike. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

Thousands of ambulance workers across five services in England will strike on February 10, a union has announced.

Unison announced the latest walkout in the long-running dispute over pay and staffing.

Ambulance workers in London, Yorkshire, the South West, North East and North West will take part in the strikes.

It means strikes will now be happening across the NHS every day next week apart from Wednesday.

Downing Street said the strikes were "deeply concerning".

Unison said that unless the government has a "major rethink" over NHS pay, it will announce strike dates running into March.

Paramedic expresses concern over issues facing NHS as pressure intensifies

By then, the dispute is likely to affect double the number of trusts and extend to the whole of the ambulance service in England, said the union.

Unison's head of health Sara Gorton said: "After promising everyone a quicker pay review body process, the secretary of state's own department failed to get its evidence in on time earlier this month, the union's head of health Sara Gorton said.

"Ministers must stop fobbing the public off with promises of a better NHS, while not lifting a finger to solve the staffing emergency staring them in the face.

"The government must stop playing games. Rishi Sunak wants the public to believe ministers are doing all they can to resolve the dispute. They're not.

Striking ambulance workers on the picket line at the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Striking ambulance workers on the picket line at the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust. Picture: Getty

"There are no pay talks, and the prime minister must stop trying to hoodwink the public. It's time for some honesty. Ministers are doing precisely nothing to end the dispute.

"The government's tactics seem to be to dig in, wait months for the pay review body report and hope the dispute goes away. It won't. And in the meantime, staff will carry on quitting, and patients being let down.

"There can be no health service without the staff to run it. Ministers must open proper talks to end the dispute and put in place the urgent retention plan needed to boost pay and staffing across the NHS."

Ambulance workers are set to go on strike
Ambulance workers are set to go on strike. Picture: Getty

Downing Street conceded that Wednesday's mass strike action will be "very difficult".

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We know that there will be significant disruption given the scale of the strike action that is taking place tomorrow and that will be very difficult for the public trying to go about their daily lives.

"We are upfront that this will disrupt people's lives and that's why we think negotiations rather than picket lines are the right approach."

He added: ""Ongoing strike action is deeply concerning and will worry the public.

Furious caller says his mother waited 9 hours for an ambulance 'well before any strikes'.

"We are putting in place significant mitigations that have previously helped reduce some of the impact from these strikes. But first and foremost we would ask the unions to reconsider that approach and continue discussions."

Read more: UK set to have weakest major economy in the world and become only G7 nation to shrink

It comes as tomorrow, teachers, civil servants, university staff and train drivers are all going on strike in coordinated action. Around 300,000 teachers will walk out in England and Wales, affecting more than 23,000 schools.

100,000 civil servants in five departments will also go on strike, including HMRC. It is the largest civil service strike in years, coordinated by the PCS union.

Aslef has called a train drivers strike on February 1 and 3 after it rejected a pay offer from rail firms. Around 12,500 train drivers are expected to strike.

When are the next strikes?

Ambulance trust workers will be striking on:

Monday 6 February - Unite (in North West, North East, West Midlands, East Midlands and Wales), plus GMB ambulance workers and nurses
Thursday 16 February - Unite (in Northern Ireland) plus GMB workers
Friday 17 February - Unite (in West Midlands and Northern Ireland)
Monday 20 February - Unite (in East Midlands, North East and Wales) plus GMB workers
Wednesday 22 February - Unite (in North West)
Thursday 23 February - Unite (in Northern Ireland)
Friday 24 February - Unite (in Northern Ireland)
Monday 6 March - Unite (in North West, North East, West Midlands, East Midlands and Wales) plus GMB workers
Monday 20 March - Unite (in North West, North East,West Midlands, East Midlands and Wales) plus GMB workers

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