UK ambulance workers go on strike once more as unions demand dialogue

Monday marked the continuation of a strike by thousands of ambulance workers across England and Wales, as unions demanded discussions with the government to improve wages and conditions.

Last year’s ambulance employees went on strike on December 21, and further dates are scheduled for February.

The unprecedented strike action by nurses reflects widespread anger inside the state-funded National Health Service, whose employees are grappling with escalating living expenses.

Monday’s industrial action precedes simultaneous mass strikes scheduled for February 6 by unions representing nurses and ambulance personnel.

Monday’s walkout involves members of three unions in England and Wales: Unison, Unite, and GMB.

The largest trade union in the United Kingdom, Unison, reported that up to 15,000 ambulance personnel in England and 5,000 members in hospitals in Liverpool, northwest England, will be on strike.

Following a three-day strike last week, Unite reported that more than 2,600 of its ambulance worker members were on strike in England and Wales this week.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham accused the government of passivity on BBC radio, stating, “We’re trying to get the government to negotiate.”

“It has been five weeks since Unite ambulance workers went on strike, and during that period there has been no real discussion on pay.

She added, despite Health Secretary Steve Barclay’s assertion that discussions are ongoing, “there are absolutely no pay negotiations taking place.”

She stated that Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is “missing in action” and “needs to become more involved.”

The GMB, whose members at one central England ambulance service were on strike on Monday, tweeted to Barclay, “We need to speak salary. When you’re ready, we’re ready.”

The London Ambulance Service advised calling 999 only in “life-threatening” situations and cautioned the public that they “may be asked to arrange transportation to the hospital.”

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