Ambulance workers in our region begin voting today on whether they will take strike action over patient safety and staff pay.
Members of the GMB union at the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) and the Yorkshire Ambulance Service are being balloted.
It follows the government's imposed 4% pay award, which they say leaves them facing a real terms pay cut.
Members are also concerned that delays in responding to calls and staff vacancies are making conditions unsafe.
Ambulance workers across the country are voting on possible industrial action.
GMB's acting national secretary Rachel Harrison said: "Ambulance workers don't do this lightly - and this would be the biggest ambulance strike for 30 years.
“Ambulance workers have been telling the government for years things are unsafe. No one is listening. What else can they do?”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We value the hard work of NHS staff and are working hard to support them – including by giving over 1 million NHS workers a pay rise of at least £1,400 this year.
“Industrial action is a matter for unions, and we urge them to carefully consider the potential impacts on patients.”
Director of people and development at North East Ambulance Service, Karen O'Brien, said: “Although NHS pay is set nationally, and is therefore outside of our control, we recognise this is a very difficult time for everyone right now.
"We understand our colleagues' concerns around feeling overworked, and are confident that this feeling should start to ease following significant additional investment in our service, which is being spent on recruiting more people to join our teams.
“If industrial action is taken, we will work together with our trade union colleagues to keep critical services running.”
The ballot closes on Tuesday 29 November.
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