Majority of members balloted in favour of strike action
The GMB union have confirmed that 78% of their 22,000 members have voted in favour of strike action over pay.
The ambulance staff, from across England and Northern Ireland, will join nurses, midwives and porters among other NHS staff in the four hour walk out on 13th October. GMB members include ambulance crews, district nurses and cleaners. The walk out is set to start at 7.00am and last for four hours, followed by a period of working to rule.
The action is in response to a pay debate. Ministers have given a 1% increase to NHS workers, excluding those who also earn the 3% progression in the job rise, which goes against advice given by an independent pay review. The pay review recommended that the pay rises be across the board, including those who earn the automatic rises, which are designed to reward professional development.
Brian Strutton, the GMB national secretary for public services, told BBC News “Nobody in the NHS wants to go on strike, but the anger and frustration of the workforce with the cavalier treatment by government and employers towards them has spilled over into industrial unrest. GMB and the other trade unions on the staff side hope this programme of action will get some movement in this deadlock and we will plan further periods of action through the autumn and winter if it does not.”
The unions say urgent and emergency services will not be affected. Instead, they will target non-urgent care such as hospital outpatient appointments, routine surgery, patient transport and community clinics. 10 unions in total have balloted members regarding strike action over this issue. This will be the first walk out over pay for 32 years.