LAS UNISON Branch have achieved a successful ballot to take strike action against poor pay and conditions in the NHS.
This action will begin on Wednesday 21st December between 1200 and 0000. Our members have chosen to take this action as the government still refuses to negotiate with us over our pay. Below-inflation pay rises and poor funding have brought the NHS to its knees, severely endangering the health of the nation every day of the week, and we have no alternate left but to take action.
Over the past couple of weeks our senior branch representatives have been busy organising the picket line arrangements and negotiating what emergency cover provisions we can support for our striking members to attend life-threatening calls where the LAS are unable to.
Any LAS staff not currently a member of UNISON can join up and take part in the action on the 21st. Members of any other Trade Union that does not have a mandate to take action cannot legally take part in this action unless they were to join UNISON.
On the 21st December there will be 28 picket lines across the LAS at the following locations:
St Johns Wood
Cody Road (HART)
Each picket line will be organised jointly by a UNISON rep and a manager as a single point of contact.
We are asking all our operational crews on duty throughout the strike period to withdraw their labour for the duration of the strike and, during their rostered hours that cover the 12.00-00.00 period, attend their local picket line with their allocated vehicle and assist in the emergency cover provisions. Providing emergency cover is essential for us to prevent unnecessary harm coming to patients.
At 12.00 any members taking strike action and engaged in patient care at the time will complete this as normal and then notify PD33 they are now taking strike action. We then ask crews to make their way to their local picket line and assist with emergency cover. Once a crew then arrives at a picket line for this purpose they will, at that point, cease to be paid. We will ensure arrangements are made to return crews to their base station by the end of their normal shift time. Members starting shifts at or after 12.00, wishing to take part in our emergency cover provisions, will begin their shift as they would normally preparing themselves and a vehicle to respond and then attending their closest picket line as soon as practically possible informing PD33 immediately at the start of their shift of their intentions so that they are removed from normal working.
Emergency cover by striking crews will only be provided for at the named picket line sites. We have agreed with management that all calls during this period will be rigorously clinically reassessed to ensure only the most serious life threatening calls – (where non-attendance could endanger life or serious illness and injury) – will be dispatched to. Any calls requiring attendance will be covered by any remaining provision the service has in the first instance, including some other mutual aid. Only calls that the service deems to fall in to the above parameters will then be passed to the single point of contact (SPOC) at the local picket line and a request made for emergency cover. The next crew available and willing to attend the call will then be promptly dispatched. After completing the job, the attending crew will then inform PD33 and then return to the picket line. Striking UNISON members will not be paid during strike action with the exception of the time they are responding to an emergency cover call. From the point of dispatch to the point a crew returns to the picket line they will be paid the normal rate for the shift. This will be logged manually at the picket line by the rep/management SPOC.
Any members taking strike action that can’t form a fully crewed ambulance at or after 12.00 will need make their own arrangements should they wish to attend a picket line and assist in providing emergency cover. At worst, any member taking strike action will be returned to their starting base station where any other mutually agreeable arrangements can’t be made. Any issues or requests for assistance please contact your Senior Sector Rep (phone numbers below) for your area for advice.
- Brian Robinson (East Central) – 07917906324 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Tim Fisher (Central and South East) – 07772503528 email@example.com
- Steve Johnson (South West and media/comms point of contact) – 07958912090 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Paul Chiddington (West) – 07968965773 email@example.com
- Pete Hannell (North West) – 07585117178 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Julie Cunnane (North East) – 07961832766 email@example.com
Picketers are allowed to peacefully encourage non-union members to join so they can legally be involved in the action. Conduct at picket line will be respectful and courteous. Bearing in mind some members have been given an exemption from strike action on this occasion and other LAS staff that are members of the GMB union are not able to take part in this strike action. Any media requests on the day should be directed to the nominated reps organising the picket lines.
All members who take lawful Industrial Action (and lose pay which will show in the end of January 2023 pay) on 21 December will be eligible to receive strike pay from UNISON. This will be £50, unless your normal take home pay is reduced by less than this. You will need to provide your details to your local UNISON branch rep, including bank details and confirmation of participation in the strike. We know it’s a tough time for people to take strike action and lose pay. We don’t want our members in hardship so please speak to your local branch rep if striking would put you in considerable financial difficulty. In certain circumstances you could be exempted from taking action or receive a further hardship Ambulance Industrial Action payment from your branch. These hardship claims will be dealt with confidentially, and you should speak to your UNISON branch rep for further information.
For those not scheduled to work on the 21st December there are many ways that you can support the action and campaign. On a strike day you could visit a picket line, maybe take your colleagues some refreshments – your striking colleagues would really appreciate your support. You can also contact your local UNISON branch rep to see if there are other ways you can help.
Finally the LAS UNISON branch committee wish to extend a message of unity and solidarity to all UNSION members fighting for the NHS and our pay both here in London across the country. Many other branches, individuals and other organisations have also sent us messages of solidarity in to LAS UNISON and want us to know we have their support.
Should you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to contact your workplace UNISON rep or one of the senior reps listed above for your area.
Solidarity to all our members and see you on the picket lines!