Strike Looms For Ambulance Service In January

And 12-hour strike in rest of NHS in pay dispute

GMB members in the ambulance service in England and Northern Ireland are considering a 48 hour continuous strike as part of an escalation of strike action with other health unions in the pay dispute in the NHS.

The two day stoppage by GMB members in the ambulance service, should it go ahead, will commence at 12 noon on January 29th and will continue until 12 noon on 31st January.

The joint health unions have announced further strike action for Thursday 29 January 2015. This will be a 12 hour stoppage from 9am -9pm in NHS (Hospitals). This will be followed in February with a 24 hour stoppage on Tuesday 24 February 2015, time to be confirmed.

GMB will issue the necessary formal notices to all NHS employers including ambulance services in the coming weeks.

GMB members took part in the strike action in the NHS across England & Northern Ireland on 13th October and 24th November and the four-hour stoppages were followed by action short of a strike with an overtime ban in the ambulance service and other NHS employees working to their contracted hours.

Rehana Azam, GMB NHS National Officer, said "The New Year will bring a regrettable escalation of the strike action in the NHS in this pay dispute. GMB has been left with no alternative as Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, continues to act irresponsibly by sticking to an entrenched position of no meaningful talks with the health unions. This dispute is escalating. The consequences will mean a third wave of strikes across the NHS. GMB is consulting members on a two day strike on 29th & 30th January in the Ambulance Service.

"Further stoppages across the NHS are inevitable should Jeremy Hunt continue to refuse to hold discussions to settle the pay dispute. This is a dispute he created when he dismissed an independent pay review body's recommendation for NHS staff pay".

Steve Rice GMB Ambulance Chair said "I have worked for the Ambulance Service for almost four decades and in this time I have worked under 17 Secretaries of State for Health. Never have I experienced staff morale at such a breaking point and that is why the GMB is calling an urgent GMB Ambulance meeting to discuss the details of a potential 2 day stoppage across the ambulance service. Escalation is always a last resort but in the absence of any real talks from government or employers we have nowhere else to go.
Our A&E's are in a crisis and we took the responsible position by not striking over Christmas. This goodwill will not continue in the New Year. GMB members expect the current Secretary of State for Health to engage in meaningful talks to settle this dispute."

December 26, 2014