Military personnel ready to step in as Christmas strike chaos looms

4 December 2022, 11:59

Hundreds of troops are being trained to drive ambulances
Hundreds of troops are being trained to drive ambulances. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Military personnel are ready to step in to help with looming strike chaos over Christmas.

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Hundreds of troops are being trained to drive ambulances and firefight in the event of large-scale industrial action, the government said.

Around 2,000 military personnel, civil servants and other volunteers from across government have been preparing as ministers brace for a wave of industrial action across the public sector.

The Cabinet Office said they included up to 600 armed forces personnel and 700 staff from the government's specialist Surge and Rapid Response Team, as well as other parts of the Civil Service.

As well as covering for fire and ambulance crews, they could also be drafted in to ports and airports in the event of strike action by Border Force staff.

Read more: Brits warned of Christmas travel chaos as highway workers strike in action that 'threatens to bring roads to standstill'

Read more: Christmas chaos: Brits set to suffer strikes every day in festive build up throughout December

Nadhim Zahawi says the NHS's pay rise request is 'undeliverable'.

Conservative Party chairman Nadim Zahawi said ministers were determined to minimise disruption from industrial action in the weeks ahead.

"We have a very strong team at Cobra who are doing a lot of the work in looking at what we need to do to minimise the disruption to people’s lives," Mr Zahawi told Sky.

"We are looking at the military, we are looking at a specialist response force which we actually set up a number of years ago - a surge capacity.

"In the unfortunate circumstance, if you do have a strike at Border Force, you do have to make sure there is minimum disruption.

"We have to make sure are borders are always secure and that is something that we guarantee.

"Things like driving ambulances and other parts of the public sector – we have got to try and minimise disruption."