South Central ambulance strikes begin after Unite members reject govt pay offer
- Friday 28 April 2023
Health workers demand pay rise that will end recruitment and retention crisis crippling NHS
Unite members working for the South Central Ambulance Service will stage strike action on Tuesday (2 May) after they rejected the government’s pay offer by 56 per cent.
Interviews and broadcast opportunities will be available at Basingstoke Hospital (RG24 9NA) and Hightown Ambulance Station (SO19 0SA) from 12pm.
Unite NHS members across the UK rejected the government’s pay offer in a consultative ballot that closed today (Friday 28 April) by 52 per cent.
The ballot result revealed very high figures for grades mostly in frontline services with patients, for example seven out of ten all ambulance paramedics who are Unite members rejected the deal.
The UK government offer doesn’t even match the higher settlement approved by Unite members in Scotland. For instance, under the terms of the current government offer a paramedic on a band 6 in salary in England will earn almost £3,500 less per year than a corresponding worker in Scotland.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite was clear from the start it was very unlikely this offer would be accepted. It is quite frankly a joke that NHS workers are being forced to fight for a decent pay rise after years of pay freezes and all their sacrifices during the pandemic. The government should be delivering generous rewards for that instead of a parade of insults bullying and lies about our industrial action. Unite will be backing our NHS members 100 per cent.
“Unite’s members will now return to the picket line to continue their fight. Rishi Sunak now needs to take over this mess, roll his sleeves up and sort it. Isn’t that what a prime minister is supposed to do – lead for goodness sake?”
Notes to editors:
Unite put the government offer to a ballot of its members without a recommendation to accept it. Unite was the only union directly involved in the negotiations to do this. Unite was not able to recommend the offer because the non-consolidated cash lump sum for 2022/23 is not a pay rise. Also, the five per cent increase for 2023/24 does not come anywhere near to matching the real rate of inflation (RPI), currently at 13.5 per cent.
Unite members at Guys and St Thomas’ Trust in South London, and the Yorkshire Ambulance Trust, will strike on Monday (1 May). Unite members at South Central, South East Coast and West Midlands ambulance trusts alongside workers at Christies NHS Foundation Trust, Christies Pathology Partnership, East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust and Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust will strike on Tuesday (2 May).
For media enquires ONLY contact Unite communications officer Ryan Fletcher on 07849 090215 or 020 3371 2065.
Email: [email protected]
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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.