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Workers ‘in the fight of their lives for the very NHS itself’, union claims


Mark Harper trying to ‘encourage’ deal to avoid rail strikes

Striking workers are in the “fight for their lives for the very NHS itself,” a union leader has said after further Christmas walkouts were announced today.

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Make no mistake, we are now in the fight of our lives for the very NHS itself. These strikes are a stark warning – our members are taking a stand to save our NHS from this government.

“Patients’ lives are already at risk but this government is sitting on the sidelines, dodging its responsibility to sort out the crisis that it has created.

Thousands of ambulance workers and other NHS staff are to strike on December 21 in a dispute over pay, unions have said.

The GMB, Unison and Unite unions are co-ordinating industrial action across England and Wales after accusing the government of ignoring pleas for a decent wage rise.

Unison said its strike, involving paramedics, emergency care assistants, ambulance technicians and other 999 crew members, will run from noon to midnight.

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Ambulance workers at ‘sharp end’ of ‘frighteningly under-resourced health service’, BMA chair says

BMA chair of council Professor Philip Banfield said: “Ambulance workers have for too long been at the sharp end of a frighteningly under-resourced health service, working with extraordinary dedication in a system that simply does not value them enough.

“Doctors will today offer our solidarity to our colleagues in ambulances who feel this is the only way of getting this Government to take the worsening predicament of the health service and its workers seriously.

“Only by listening to and negotiating in good faith with NHS staff will the Government have any hope of repairing a health system it has left in dire straits. The starting point must be the NHS’s most important resource – its workforce.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain6 December 2022 16:09

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Angela Rayner accuses government of negligence in dispute with ambulance workers

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner accused the government of negligence in its handling of the dispute with ambulance workers.

She told reporters in Westminster: “We’ve seen actually across the ambulance service the crisis that’s engulfing our ambulance service… in the North West, in my area, the ambulance service saying please do not ring for an ambulance unless it is absolutely, desperately needed and advising people to get taxis. The system is at breaking point.

“The health secretary has failed to meet with their health trade unions throughout the whole summer. They knew this was coming and they again negligently did nothing about it.

“The frustration for me is there is a common theme with all of these disputes and that is this Government failing to act in the interests of British people.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain6 December 2022 15:44

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When is the next December train strike? Everything you need to know

Rail passengers in Britain are enduring the longest and most damaging series of strikes since the 1980s.

The bitter dispute on pay, job security and working arrangements involves the rail unions, the train operators and the infrastructure provider Network Rail.

The first national strikes were called six months ago, and more have been called before and during Christmas and after New Year.

The dates for the next round of national strikes are 13-14, 16-17 and 24-27 December plus 3-4 and 6-7 January.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain6 December 2022 15:18

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Thousands of ambulance workers and NHS staff to strike ahead of Christmas

The GMB, Unison and Unite unions are co-ordinating industrial action across England and Wales after accusing the government of ignoring pleas for a decent wage rise.

Unison said its strike, involving paramedics, emergency care assistants, ambulance technicians and other 999 crew members, will run from noon to midnight.

The strike will happen a day after members of the Royal College of Nursing stage their second walkout, also over pay.

The GMB said more than 10,000 ambulance workers across nine trusts in England and Wales will strike.

Read the full story here:

Maryam Zakir-Hussain6 December 2022 14:39

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Government and union leaders must ‘find a solution’ to avoid strikes, NHS chief says

The government and union leaders need to sit to gether and “find a solution” to avoid the pending strikes, an NHS chief has said.

Saffron Cordery, interim chief executive of NHS Providers, said: “Trust leaders continue to plan and prepare for strike action, but today’s announcement of co-ordinated action by the GMB, Unison and Unite underlines the sheer urgency of the need for government and union leaders to get around the table to find a solution to avert these strikes.

“The potential to escalate action and for prolonged, joint strikes by health unions in January if talks don’t take place is very worrying.

“As with the upcoming industrial action by the Royal College of Nursing, trusts affected will do everything they can to minimise disruption for patients on Friday 21 and Friday December 28.

“Their priority, as always, remains the safe delivery of care and services for patients during any industrial action and to support the wellbeing of their staff.

“But the challenges strike action presents for the health service at a time when it is under serious strain across every part of the system is undeniable. This will inevitably have an impact on some patients.

“Leaders across the NHS of course understand how strongly ambulance staff, including 999 call handlers, ambulance technicians, paramedics and their colleagues working for ambulance services feel and why they’ve got to this point: below-inflation pay awards amid the rising cost of living, severe staff shortages, rising operational pressures and ever-increasing workloads have all taken their toll.

“There must be no delay in getting down to serious, meaningful negotiations to end this dispute before it escalates still further.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain6 December 2022 14:23

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Border Force strikes: minister confirms army would be brought in but warns ‘there will be disruption’

The government will bring in the army to work at ports and airports if UK Border Force staff go on strike, a minister has confirmed

Announcing the ballot result, the PCS union said: “We are now in a position to call significant industrial action in support of our claim for a 10 per cent pay rise, pensions justice, job security and and no cuts to redundancy terms.”

No dates for a walk-out have been announced.

Our travel correspondent Simon Calder has more:

Maryam Zakir-Hussain6 December 2022 14:05

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No 10 plans to bring in new law to require minimum service on railways

Downing Street has insisted it is planning to bring in a new law to require minimum service levels on the railways.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We recognise no legislation will be in place to mitigate against the disruption we’re expecting to see next week.

“We are pushing ahead with minimum service level legislation. That’s the plan whether or not the unions step back from the planned disruption next week.”

He blamed the pandemic for the delay to the legislation first promised in 2019 and insisted “it’s something we’re proceeding with as fast as parliamentary time allows”.

Pressed if the rapid churn of prime ministers and transport secretaries played a role, he said: “I think the global pandemic was the largest impact on this legislation.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain6 December 2022 13:45

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Downing Street urges RMT to accept deal

Downing Street urged the RMT to accept a deal including a four per cent pay rise to follow this year’s five per cent, and no compulsory redundancies until 2025, rather than the union’s “unaffordable” double-digit demands.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman said: “It’s incredibly disappointing that the RMT has chosen to take further damaging action instead of recognising this is a generous and fair deal that could have brought this dispute to an end.

“We believe the RMT need to take this offer seriously. We’ve been fair and reasonable in our approach.”

Government minister Nick Gibb told GB News the union must “call off this strike”, adding: “It’s inconveniencing people up and down the country in the run-up to Christmas. I think it’s a very poor way of conducting negotiations.

“We would urge the unions to talk to employers, to keep negotiating and not to hold the country to ransom, particularly in December as we get nearer to Christmas.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain6 December 2022 13:25

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NHS staff ‘have had enough’

The GMB union national secretary said NHS staff “have had enough” as three unions announced co-ordinated walkouts ahead of Christmas.

Rachel Harrison said: “After 12 years of Conservative cuts to the service and their pay packets, NHS staff have had enough.

“The last thing they want to do is take strike action but the government has left them with no choice.

“Health secretary Steve Barclay needs to listen and engage with us about pay. If he can’t talk to us about this most basic workforce issue, what on Earth is he Health Secretary for?

“The government could stop this strike in a heartbeat – but they need to wake up and start negotiating on pay.”

Maryam Zakir-Hussain6 December 2022 13:02

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BREAKING: Thousands of ambulance workers and NHS staff to strike on December 21

Thousands of ambulance workers and other NHS staff are to strike on December 21 in a dispute over pay, the GMB, Unison and Unite unions announced.

It comes as the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union on Monday announced further strike dates in the lead-up to Christmas.

Maryam Zakir-Hussain6 December 2022 12:11



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