Unite, the second largest union for ambulance workers, has announced a new round of strikes on and around the upcoming May bank holiday.
On Monday 1 May, Unite members at the Yorkshire Ambulance Trust will walk out, followed the next day by staff at South Central, South East Coast and West Midlands ambulance trusts.
The strikes will also include some hospital workers at Christies NHS Foundation Trust, Christies Pathology Partnership, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust.
The ambulance strike dates will coincide with the new strike announced by the Royal College of Nursing on Friday last week – a 48-hour strike from 8pm on 30 April to 8pm on 2 May.
The government has offered unions a pay deal which includes a 5% wage rise for this financial year, as well as a one-off payment for 2022/23.
On Friday, Unison – which has 288,000 NHS members including ambulance workers – voted to accept the pay offer, with 74% voting in favour and 26% voting against.
But, although Unite has put the offer to a consultative ballot among its 100,000 NHS members closing next week (28 April), it announced the new strikes upon receiving ‘strong indications’ members were ‘unhappy’ with the offer.
Unlike Unison, it did not recommend members to accept the pay deal.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: ‘Unite has been upfront and honest that it did not believe that the pay offer was good enough for NHS workers.
‘A lump sum payment and yet another real terms pay cut doesn’t meet the challenges faced by NHS workers.
‘Where our members have indicated that they want to swiftly return to the picket line, Unite is ensuring they are able to do so.’
Unite national lead officer for the NHS dispute Onay Kasab said: ‘Unite put the offer to our members but our reservations about it are being realised with the widespread reaction from members to reject the offer.
‘There are a growing number of trusts where members are now pressing to take action. They will have the 100% support from the union when they do so.’
England’s ambulance services are under huge pressure with a Labour investigation today revealing waits of up to one and half hour for 999 calls to be answered.
Meanwhile, last week’s four-day junior doctor strike led to the cancellation of 196,000 consultations and procedures, according to official NHS figures.
A version of this story first appeared in our sister publication Pulse