Unite confirms action is a ‘first step’ in NHS pay dispute

Unite the union who represent around 1,500 Scottish Ambulance Service workers has confirmed its members will take imminent industrial action.

All Unite’s SAS workers will take continuous action short of strike from 00.01am on 25 November. The action will include an overtime ban and work to rule.

In practical terms this means Unite members working strictly to contractual terms in respect of working hours, shift start and finish times, and the taking of scheduled breaks

The SAS workers involved in the action short of strike will include advanced practitioners, paramedics, planners, administrative, clerical, real time analysts, and business intelligence. The measures taken are designed to in no way impact on responses to emergency incidents.

Sharon Graham Unite general secretary, said: “Unite is determined to encourage the Scottish Government to return to the negotiating table. The action short of strike we have announced is designed to prevent all out strike action but make no mistake about this, if there is no new improved offer then this is exactly what will happen and the Scottish Government will be to blame. We will always stand up for our brave NHS workers and fight for better jobs, terms and conditions.”

Unite has further confirmed that it is actively considering coordinated strike action with the other NHS trade unions if this initial action does not bring the Health Secretary, Humza Yousaf MSP, back to the negotiating table with an improved offer.

NHS members on 4 November formally rejected the latest pay offer made by NHS Scotland by 74 per cent, and also voted for industrial action in a number of regional and national health boards. RPI is currently standing at a 40 year high of 12.6 per cent.

Jamie McNamee, Unite Scottish Ambulance Service convenor said: “Unite’s objective in taking this first step of action short of strike is to highlight patient and staff safety along with the ongoing concerns we have over the poor quality of care due to years of underinvestment and cuts.”

The offer currently on the table is insufficient and unacceptable. In real terms it represents a significant pay cut. The present situation is directly contributing to the NHS losing senior staff due to being overworked and poorly paid. Our NHS workers deserve better from the Scottish Government and now they have a final opportunity to make a fair pay offer before this pay dispute dramatically escalates.”


Notes to Editor

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Unite Scotland is the country’s biggest and most diverse trade union with around 150,000 members. The union is led in Scotland by Pat Rafferty.