Ambulance services in the Burnham-On-Sea area could be affected by planned nationwide strike action later this month.
Almost 3,500 ambulance workers have voted to strike across three trusts in the south of the country over the Government’s imposed four per cent pay award which they say is a massive real terms pay cut.
Paramedics, Emergency Care Assistants, call handlers and other staff are set to walk out at South West Ambulance Service (which covers the Burnham-On-Sea area), plus these services:
- South East Coast Ambulance Service
- North West Ambulance Service
- South Central Ambulance Service
- North East Ambulance Service
- East Midlands Ambulance Service
- West Midlands Ambulance Service
- Welsh Ambulance Service
- Yorkshire Ambulance Service
The industrial action is set to take place before Christmas, with the union planning to meet reps in the coming days to discuss potential dates.
Rachel Harrison, GMB National Secretary, said: “Ambulance workers – like other NHS workers – are on their knees. Demoralised and downtrodden, they’ve faced twelve years Conservative cuts to the service and their pay packets, fought on the frontline of a global pandemic and now face the worst cost of living crisis in a generation.”
“No one in the NHS takes strike action lightly – today shows just how desperate they are.”
“This is as much about unsafe staffing levels and patient safety as it is about pay. A third of GMB ambulance workers think delays they’ve been involved with have led to the death of a patient. Something has to change or the service as we know it will collapse.”
“GMB calls on the Government to avoid a Winter of NHS strikes by negotiating a pay award that these workers deserve.”
Health Secretary Steve Barclay said he “deeply” regrets ambulance staff striking and said it is “in nobody’s best interests as winter approaches”.
But he insisted: “Economic circumstances mean unions demands are not affordable – each additional 1% pay rise for non-medical staff would cost around £700m a year. My door is open to discuss with unions ways we can make the NHS a better place to work.”
“Our priority is keeping patients safe during any strikes and the NHS has tried and tested plans to minimise disruption and ensure emergency services continue to operate.”
The strike comes after the UK’s biggest trade union, Unison, also announced thousands of its ambulance workers in England also intend to take industrial action before Christmas.
The army has already been placed on stand by in case it is needed to fill the roles of NHS workers while strikes are taking place.