Ambulance strikes called off as pay talks with government begin

Planned walkouts by ambulance workers across England have been called off – just hours before they were meant to begin.

Union members at trusts in the West Midlands, North West, South Central, South Coastal, and East Midlands were to go on strike on Monday and Wednesday.

But following ‘further assurances from the government over the weekend’ Unite has paused the nationwide action this afternoon to enter pay talks.

Head of operations at the union, Gail Cartmail, said: ‘Following further assurances from the government over the weekend, Unite has in good faith agreed to pause the strike action.

‘If the meeting does not meet these assurances strike action will resume.’

The union stressed that a deal ‘will include new money, rather than placing further pressure on NHS budgets and an indication that discussions about “efficiencies” and “productivity savings” will not result in attacks on the conditions of NHS staff’.

This would have been the very first time in history that Unite members in South Central and South Coastal had taken industrial action.

Members in Yorkshire, who are also planning to strike for the first time, were due to take industrial action on Wednesday.

Unite had also called off tomorrow’s strikes in Wales due to pay talks continuing with the Welsh government.

Significant disruption had been expected, as the walkouts would have involved tens of thousands of key workers.

Unite’s move comes after Unison and GMB unions also cancelled industrial action.

Unison and GMB made the decision after the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) said money was available for potential pay rises covering this year and next.

Some 32,000 NHS workers would have been involved in planned Unison strikes – including 24,500 ambulance staff – while 13,000 ambulance workers were part of the GMB action.

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