Ambulance and Border Force staff stage new strike in on-going pay dispute

Ambulance workers stand on the picket line, during a strike by members of the Unison union in the long-running dispute over pay and staffing. Credit: PA

Ambulance workers and Border Force staff are staging a fresh strike on Friday in the long-running dispute over pay and staffing.

Members of the GMB and Unite in the West Midlands will mount picket lines outside hospitals across the region, while members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) in Dover and French ports, including Calais, will walk out from today and over the weekend.

Stuart Richards, GMB senior organiser, said: “West Midlands ambulance workers are on strike over this year’s pay.

“But ministers seem to think GMB members will be fobbed off by pretending this year’s cost of living crisis hasn’t happened. They are wrong.

“The Government could easily get these strikes suspended, so why are they leaving NHS workers and the public to suffer? It’s simple – talk pay now and make a decent offer for this year. Our members and the public are waiting.”

It comes after the The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) announced a significant escalation in strike action at more than 120 NHS employers in England.

The RCN, which accused the government of refusing to engage in negotiations, also said it will increase financial support for its members who lose wages by taking industrial action.

The next strike will run continuously for 48 hours from 6am on March 1.

Previous action took place only during the day shift, for 12 hours each time.

It will be the first time the RCN will involve nursing staff working in emergency departments, intensive care units, cancer care and other services that were previously exempted.

Border Force workers will also stage a fresh strike on Friday as part of the increasingly bitter dispute over pay, jobs, pensions and conditions in the civil service.

The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) claimed inexperienced staff were being brought in to cover for striking Border Force workers.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Ministers say their priority is security – it obviously isn’t.

“They say they have no money to give our hard-working members a fair pay rise, but then find money to pay non-striking workers a healthy bonus, to pay for their transport across the country and to pay for four nights’ hotel accommodation.

“If ministers were serious about security, they would resolve this dispute immediately by putting money on the table to ensure fully-trained, experienced professionals are guarding our borders.”

PCS members of the British Museum and Swansea DVLA are also staging industrial action today.

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