UNISON members working as part of A&E road crews in five Ambulance Trusts in England at London, Yorkshire, North West, North East and South West will take part in coordinated strikes over pay, conditions and underfunding of the NHS on Wednesday 21 December where UNISON was successful in reaching the required thresholds for industrial action.
In Ambulance Trusts where UNISON just missed out for the want of a few dozen votes, plans are underway to quickly move to a re-ballot of those members where a focus on getting the small number of votes needed to meet the legal threshold could allow members working in those Trusts to join us in participating in future days of action.
UNISON’S initial strike action will take place from midday until midnight on the 21st of December.
UNISON has made a strategic decision nationally to develop a plan for escalating action. This means we will ramp up our industrial action over the coming weeks and months which is designed to put pressure on employers and the government, whilst also considering the financial impact on our members during what is an extremely challenging time for you all financially. If this is a long campaign then by taking this measured approach our members will lose less money, if it is a short campaign, which looks unlikely, then we will have achieved our aim of putting pressure on the Government whilst supporting our members and patients as much as is possible in what is always a difficult situation.
For those members who might be disappointed that UNISON will not be taking action on 28 December, consideration was given to striking with other Trade unions on this date. However, a national decision was made to focus resources on launching what will hopefully be a successful re-ballot of all ambulance branches that missed the threshold in England so that they are able to join us in taking industrial action come February and further strengthen our national action. This will also allow us time to ensure that our planned industrial action in January, involving all our members, is effective, and that our members don’t potentially lose two days’ pay over the festive period.
We know that our members never take the decision to strike lightly, but the failure of the government to meet with the Trade Unions and to engage in genuine talks about NHS pay at a time when members are having to endure the worst cost of living crisis in a generation, an issue which is further deepening the severe staffing crisis in the NHS, means it’s the government that are putting patient’s lives at risk on a daily basis, not our members who are taking strike action.
The government have already suggested that they are looking at a 2% pay rise for next year, yet again another real terms pay cut. The Prime Minister this week announced that he has more plans to bring into law a bill that will stop you, our members, from taking industrial action and further restrict worker rights. This riding rough shod attitude cannot be allowed to continue.
It is the Trusts responsibility to ensure adequate cover on our days of action. However, UNISON, as with any industrial action, are now in daily negotiations with the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust management to ensure life and limb cover, where at all possible, is in place. Further details on this and how the 21st will run will follow in due course. The HCPC have also made it clear that registrants who take lawful industrial action, as will be the case at the London Ambulance Service by our members, will not be penalised for doing so.
We understand that some of our members will feel as though they are missing out on taking action this time around, but rest assured plans are in place to include you in strike action on future dates. It was your votes that got us over the line, it will be your support and solidarity that wins us through. You will see the dates below of the next days of action.
We are also looking at ways that our members, particularly those on lowers bands, will be able to participate in ways which won’t hit their pockets too hard and welcome feedback from all groups of staff as to how you would like to be included in our industrial action going forward.
FUTURE DAYS OF ACTION
Below is a list of dates for future action, this is when we will be asking our other members from the different work streams to join A&E colleagues on the picket line. It is important to note, we will assess the impact of the 21st December strike and will use this to inform our future planning. We are unable to give details as to what future action will look like at present as this could affect how effective that action is on the day, these dates are also subject to change, but members will as always be kept updated. It also worth mentioning that we will add in further dates if we deem it necessary.
The future dates are:
- Wednesday 11th January
- Monday 23rd January
- Friday 10th February
- Wednesday 22nd February
If you have any questions please contact your local reps.
The senior reps that will organise the action on the day in your areas are as follows:
- Marcus Davis – Central and SE sectors Marcus.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Steve Johnson – SW Sector email@example.com
- Paul Chiddington – West Sector firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pete Hannell – NW Sector email@example.com
- Julie Cunnane – NE Sector firstname.lastname@example.org
- Brian Robinson – East Central Sector email@example.com
- Samad Billoo – EOC firstname.lastname@example.org
Yours in solidarity,