Unite ambulance workers to stage another strike as NHS struggles continue

Unite said its ambulance members will walk out on January 23. Credit: PA

Another strike by ambulance workers has been announced in the bitter dispute over pay and staffing.

Unite said its ambulance members will walk out on January 23.

The union said it will work with local trusts to ensure life and limb emergency cover.

It comes as flu cases in hospitals continue to rise and ambulance handover delays hit a new high last week.

More than a quarter (26%) of patients waiting over an hour to be handed to A&E teams and around four in 10 (44%) waiting at least 30 minutes.

Where will be affected by the strike?

Unite have said this renewed strike action marks an escalation in the dispute as more workers will take action than during a previous strike last month.

It understood that more than 2,600 ambulance workers will strike in the following regions:

  • West Midlands

  • North West

  • North East

  • East Midlands

  • Wales

The industrial action will be for 24 hours from 12.01am until 23.59pm in Wales, the North West, North East and East Midlands.

The West Midlands strike will be for 12 hours from 6am to 6pm.

Unite members employed by the Welsh Ambulance Service will be taking an initial day of industrial action on January 19.

Ambulance workers in Unison are also striking on January 23.

Unison and the GMB are holding a joint ambulance strike next Wednesday.

Unison members striking over pay and working conditions back in December. Credit: PA

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s ambulance workers have been left with no option but to take industrial action. They are fighting to protect patients, to save the ambulance service and the NHS itself, as well as providing for their families.

“The government has had months to intervene and end this dispute but has failed to do so. They choose to attack NHS workers rather than get more money for the NHS from profiteering companies. They repeatedly refuse to sit down and negotiate in order to resolve the dispute.

“The talks the government has lined up for Monday yet again look like nothing more than a smokescreen and are clearly not a negotiation on NHS pay.

“But this is real and urgent. NHS staff need their bills paying now. Vital health workers are leaving the service now. Patients are suffering and dying now. The prime minister needs to step up to the moment and lead. That is what he is paid for.”

In line with the previous industrial action, Unite’s representatives will be working at a local level to agree derogations to ensure that emergency cover is in place during the strike.

NHS Providers’ interim chief executive, Saffron Cordery, said: “Another strike will pile even more pressure on already overstretched NHS services. There is huge strain on the whole health and social care system and trusts fear that more strikes will just make an extremely challenging situation worse.

“We understand how strongly ambulance staff feel and how below-inflation pay awards, the cost-of-living crisis, severe staff shortages and ever-increasing workloads have brought them to this point.

“There must be serious talks, specifically about pay, between the government and unions to avert any more strikes.”

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