West Midlands Ambulance Service staff to strike at Christmas over pay row

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West Midlands Ambulance Service staff to strike at Christmas over pay row

Postby dutchman » Tue Dec 06, 2022 5:03 pm

More than 3,000 workers across the whole region will walk out

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More than 3,000 ambulance workers are due to go on strike before and after Christmas. GMB union members at West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) will be among those to walk out across the Midlands

Paramedics, Emergency Care Assistants, call handlers and other staff will strike on Wednesday, December 21, and Wednesday, December 28. WMAS workers are set to strike from 12.01am - 11.59pm each day, while colleagues in the East Midlands will walk out from from 6am - 5.59am each day.

They say that the strike action is as a result of the government’s imposed four per cent pay award, which union bosses say is massive real terms pay cut. GMB representatives have said that will now meet with both trusts to discuss requirements for life and limb cover.

Rachel Harrison, GMB National Secretary, said: "Ambulance workers – like other NHS workers – are on their knees. Demoralised and downtrodden, they’ve faced 12 years of Conservative cuts to the service and their pay packets, fought on the frontline of a global pandemic and now face the worst cost of living crisis in a generation.

“No-one in the NHS takes strike action lightly – today shows just how desperate they are. This is as much about unsafe staffing levels and patient safety as it is about pay. A third of GMB ambulance workers think delays they’ve been involved with have led to the death of a patient.

“Something has to change or the service as we know it will collapse. GMB calls on the government to avoid a winter of NHS strikes by negotiating a pay award that these workers deserve.”

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Re: West Midlands Ambulance Service staff to strike at Christmas over pay row

Postby dutchman » Sat Dec 17, 2022 6:38 pm

Last night I watched in disbelief as three ambulances and a paramedic car were sent to ferry a single neighbour to hospital.

The wife of the patient was given a front seat ride in a separate ambulance.

The whole process took two hours so the ambulances clearly weren't needed elsewhere.

Methinks claims of 'under-staffing' in the service may be greatly exaggerated? :roll:
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Re: West Midlands Ambulance Service staff to strike at Christmas over pay row

Postby dutchman » Mon Dec 19, 2022 2:58 am

1,200 troops to cover for ambulances and Border Force

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About 1,200 members of the military and 1,000 civil servants are to be drafted in to cover for striking ambulance and Border Force staff over Christmas.

The government say the personnel will plug staffing gaps and keep front-line services running.

Some 10,000 ambulance staff in England and Wales will strike on 21 and 28 December in a pay dispute.

Unions say military staff are not "sufficiently trained" to taking on ambulance roles.

But Health Secretary Steve Barclay said his "number one priority" is keeping patients safe.

However he declined to discuss "political debates", stressing that the military is directed by the government to "serve the nation".

The head of the armed forces has warned against viewing troops as "the go-to" option when it comes to covering strike action.

Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, said: "We're not spare capacity. We're busy and we're doing lots of things on behalf of the nation - we've got to focus on our primary role.".

The Welsh government has said the military will not be asked to drive ambulances in Wales.

The co-ordinated walkout was called by the three main ambulance unions - Unison, GMB and Unite.

All three are taking action on 21 December. GMB union members will go on strike again on 28 December.

The government said pay rises for ambulance workers and nurses were decided by independent pay review bodies - which have recommended pay rises of around 4.75%.

With inflation running at more than 10% and many struggling with the rising cost of living, unions have said this represents an unaffordable real terms pay cut.

The ambulance strikes will affect non-life threatening calls only. Hospitals have been warned by NHS bosses to prepare for "extensive disruption" during the walkouts, and to free up beds to make it easier to move people through A&E and get paramedics quickly back on the road.

However, doctors' leaders warned this would be very difficult to achieve.

The government said the health service will put into place "tried and tested" plans to reduced risks to patient safety and disruption, while individual NHS trusts will work with unions to agree on a safe level of cover.

But chief executive of the NHS Confederation Matthew Taylor said there was "no question" strikes would pose risks to patients.

"We're in the middle of winter and we have a health service which, even on an ordinary day without industrial action, is finding it difficult to cope," he said. "So there are going to be risks to patients. There's no question about that."

Troops from the Army, Navy and RAF will be deployed. Some 600 members of the armed forces are due to take on ambulance driving roles and 150 personnel will provide logistical support.

Community first responders will also be used to help manage demand for medical care.

Mr Barclay described the decision to go ahead with strikes as "deeply regrettable", repeating the government's position that the striking unions' demands are "not affordable" - but he also said that he was "open to further discussions".

"My number one priority is to keep patients as safe as possible and we are stepping up preparations across government and the NHS, including making best use of the armed forces, volunteers and freeing up capacity to mitigate disruption and ensure safe staffing levels," he added.

:bbc_news:
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Re: West Midlands Ambulance Service staff to strike at Christmas over pay row

Postby dutchman » Tue Dec 20, 2022 10:22 pm

West Midlands Ambulance Service reaches union deal over 'life and limb' cover for strikes

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A deal has been struck between unions and West Midlands Ambulance Service about what 'life and limb' cover will be provided. Around 1,000 GMB and Unite union members at WMAS will walk out tomorrow (December 21).

This is in protest to a national pay dispute with the government. Unite members have indicated that they will undertake strike action from 6am – 5:59pm. GMB have indicated that they will undertake strike action from 00:01 – 11.59pm.

WMAS has said that the ambulance service will continue to respond to incidents where there is a threat to life, despite strike action after a deal was struck with the unions. Nathan Hudson, Emergency Services Operations Delivery Director explained: "We have had productive discussions with our staffside colleagues to agree that ambulances will respond to:

  • The most urgent calls such as cardiac arrests and where a crew request immediate back up at the scene of a case
  • Other very serious cases such as heart attacks, strokes, difficulty in breathing and maternity cases
“In addition, staff in our non-emergency patient transport service will continue to convey vulnerable groups such as patients undertaking renal dialysis, cancer treatments, palliative care, emergency scans within the strike period timeframe. Only call 999 if you or the patient is critically unwell or there is risk to life.

"Ambulances will be dispatched where clinically appropriate. If you need medical help or advice, go to NHS 111 online ( http://www.111.nhs.uk ), your local GP or pharmacy."

Unite leader Sharon Graham will join Coventry's striking ambulance workers at their picket line tomorrow. Mrs Graham, who also visited Coventry earlier this year during the bin workers strike, will be at the WMAS hub in Ibstock Road, Longford.

She said: "The Government has had months to intervene and end this dispute. They chose not to. It’s [Health Secretary] Steven Barclay who is holding the country to ransom, not the unions.

"He will have to carry the can if patients suffer. The shocking statistics from West Midlands Ambulance Trust tell the real story.

"Where were the government’s ‘well-rehearsed contingency plans’ when people were dying in the West Midlands because the crisis in the ambulance service meant an ambulance couldn’t get to them on time?" The Department for Health and Social Care say ambulances will still be able to respond to 999 calls and patients with non life-threatening conditions should contact 111.

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