Two more days of strike action for East Midlands Ambulance Service staff across Northamptonshire over ‘increasingly bitter’ pay dispute

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Two unions will strike across Northamptonshire in January

Two more days of industrial action for paramedics and ambulance service staff are coming up and they will include employees in Northamptonshire.

GMB union members - who took part in strikes on December 21, 2022 - will partake in another day of action on Wednesday (January 11) - after it was moved from its original date of December 28, 2022 - and members of trade union, Unite, will strike on January 23 over an “increasingly bitter” pay dispute with the Government. Both strikes will include East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) staff and will last for 24 hours.

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The Unite strike was announced on January 6 and more than 2,600 ambulance workers in the West Midlands, North West, North East, East Midlands and Wales will take strike action. Unite says its members are striking as a last resort.

Some East Midlands Ambulance Service staff will strike for 24 hours in January.Some East Midlands Ambulance Service staff will strike for 24 hours in January.
Some East Midlands Ambulance Service staff will strike for 24 hours in January.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s ambulance workers have been left with no option but to take industrial action. They are fighting to protect patients, to save the ambulance service and the NHS itself, as well as providing for their families.

“The Government has had months to intervene and end this dispute but has failed to do so. “This is real and urgent. NHS staff need their bills paying now. Vital health workers are leaving the service now. Patients are suffering and dying now. The Prime Minister needs to step up to the moment and lead. That is what he is paid for.”

Both days of industrial action in the East Midlands will last 24 hours from 12.01am until 11.59pm and arrangements are being discussed to ensure that emergency cover is in place during the strike.

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Paramedics Tom Matthews (25) and Andy Nially (26) were striking outside Mereway Ambulance Station on December 21.

They told Chronicle & Echo: "Everyone knows the NHS has been in absolute crisis. Since we began five years ago it's been on a downwards slope.

“The last two years in particular have just been atrocious, working conditions are just getting worse and worse, staff retention is getting worse and worse. The morale is just so low. All you hear about is people talking about wanting to leave and move on.”

Ahead of Wednesday’s strike, Ben Holdaway director of operations at EMAS, said: “Industrial action last took place at EMAS on December 21, 2022, and despite a 33 percent reduction in emergency and urgent calls on the day, it remained immensely challenging.

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What patients can expect as East Midlands Ambulance Service staff strike across ...

“We are again working closely with trade union colleagues, and NHS and blue-light service providers across the region to do all we can to minimise the impact on patient safety.

“Our operational teams have developed contingency plans to aim to maximise the number of ambulance staff and volunteers we have available to respond to patients, as well as clinical staff able to carry out remote clinical assessments.

“However, we again anticipate that on Wednesday there will be fewer ambulances available and therefore our responses to our patients will, inevitably, be much slower on the day.”

Control rooms will assess and prioritise ambulance response, and members of the public are asked by EMAS to “use services wisely” and “make their own way to the treatment centre or hospital if safe to do so”.