Who’s on strike today and how will it affect you? Daily update for February 10

Ambulance workers, university staff and some civil servants will strike today as the UK goes through yet another week of labour strife.

Thousands of ambulance staff across five services in Enfland – London, Yorkshire, the South West, North East and North West – are taking job action today.

The walkout will only affect non-life-threatening calls, and people (like similar ambulance strikes before) are advised to only call 999 in an emergency.

Members of three unions representing first responders have been staging industrial action since December – and they have their reasons.

For members of Unison, the largest trade union in the UK, today, years of low wages aren’t the only reason why ambulance workers are once again striking.

The UK experiencing a crisis in ambulance response times that is part of a wider breakdown of NHS services, which workers say is impacting their health – and their patients.

Countless stories of patients in agonising pain waiting hours for an ambulance to arrive have become all too common, caused by a skyrocketing demand, lack of A&E beds, severe staff shortages, deteriorating work conditions and years of government funding cuts.

Handover times – how long it takes to get someone out of the ambulance and into A&E – are on the up.

NHS figures show nearly four in 10 ambulances in the week to Christmas Day were delayed dropping off patients by 30 minutes – the highest on record.

The situation is so bad, the London Ambulance Service will reportedly wait just 45 minutes before handing patients over to A&E. Crews have been told to unload patients onto trolleys, point out to a nurse and then leave.

Unison head of health Sara Gorton said last month: ‘Ministers must stop fobbing the public off with promises of a better NHS, while not lifting a finger to solve the staffing emergency staring them in the face.

‘The government must stop playing games. Rishi Sunak wants the public to believe ministers are doing all they can to resolve the dispute. They’re not.’

Gorton said the government is stalling pay talks as it waits for the 2023 pay review process to finish at the end of May.

In the meantime, Unison added that it will ballot 10,000 more members in England, so further strike action would be among the biggest yet.

Alongside ambulance workers, university staff will also be forming picket lines today for the second day.

More than 70,000 staff across 150 universities are set to walk out over pay, pensions and conditions, according to the University and College Union (UCU).

Union officials say the current workload for academics is too intense and employment practices are ‘insecure’. 90,000 staff are on insecure contracts just a few weeks long, with some working an average of two unpaid days per week.

Also on the negotiating tables are pensions, with the UCU saying employees have gutted benefits so much that the average staffer is set to lose 35% of their future retirement income.

This amounts to hundreds of thousands of pounds for new starters.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: ‘It is no surprise that university staff have overwhelmingly rejected a low-ball 5% offer from employers, this is a huge real-terms pay cut that would leave our members worse off.

‘We are striking for 48 hours this week and will take escalating action until we get a fair deal. ‘

Elsewhere, staff at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) are picketing today.

The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), which represents many government workers, says the job action is a ‘response to the lack of movement from the Government on their demands on pay, pensions and job security’.

Job security and redundancy terms are two of the biggest reasons for the strike, with the union pointing to Government plans to close more than 40 DWP offices.

Workers in Liverpool – at Toxteth Jobcentre, Liverpool Duke Street Jobcentre, Liverpool City Jobcentre and Liverpool Innovation Park Jobcentre – are walking out.

Stockport Contact Centre and Bolton Benefit Centre staff will do too.

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