'Desperate' ambulance workers vote on strike action - The Rugby Observer

'Desperate' ambulance workers vote on strike action

Rugby Editorial 25th Oct, 2022   0

‘DESPERATE’ ambulance workers in the East and West Midlands are voting on whether to go on strike in a dispute over pay and ‘unsafe staffing levels’ causing fatal delays.

More than 15,000 GMB Union ambulance workers across 11 trusts in England and Wales – including the East and West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trusts (EMAS and WMAS) –  are taking part in the vote, which closes on November 29.

If GMB members vote in favour, the union says the UK’s biggest ambulance strike for 30 years could take place before Christmas.

In a consultative ballot in early October, 88 per cent of workers at EMAS and WMAS voted in favour of industrial action.

The union says its members are angry over the Government’s imposed four per cent pay award which leaves them facing ‘yet another massive real terms pay cut’ – as well as ‘unsafe staffing levels’ across the ambulance service.

GMB Acting National Secretary Rachel Harrison said: “Ambulance workers don’t do this lightly – and this would be the biggest ambulance strike for 30 years.

“But more than ten years of pay cuts, plus the cost-of-living crisis, means workers can’t make ends meet. They are desperate.

“But this is much more about patient safety. Delays up to 26 hours and 135,000 vacancies across the NHS mean a third of GMB ambulance workers think a delay they’ve been involved with has led to a death.

“Ambulance workers have been telling the Government for years things are unsafe. No one is listening. What else can they do?”

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