Thousands of ambulance workers in England and Wales launch strike as public warned to avoid ‘dangerous activities’ – LIVE | Industrial action | Daily News Byte

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Matthew TaylorThe chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents NHS organisations, told BBC Breakfast that he “wants to encourage our colleagues in the ambulance service in the trade unions to work as cooperatively as they can through today’s industrial action to try to reduce patient harm”.

This strike comes at the fact that we are already in a very challenging situation.

The ambulance service in most parts of the country is a long way from meeting its targets for responses to those types of Category 2 cases – so the most urgent, life-threatening, but still very important urgent and critical cases.

So, this strike could not come at a worse time given the pressures the NHS faces.

He urged the government and unions to reach an agreement, saying: “We cannot afford to drift into a winter of industrial action.”

Unions have blamed the need to strike on the government’s refusal to even engage with them on pay, while ministers have insisted they will not budge from their offer of real terms pay cuts and have portrayed the reactionary action as a choice by unions.

Some decisions about what will be covered during the strike by ambulance workers will be made that day, Health Secretary Steve Barclay has said, as he admits he has not drawn up a national contingency plan for industrial action. He told Sky News:

The difficulty in putting contingency measures in place is given the uncertainty of exactly what is and isn’t covered, and the fact that in some cases those decisions will be made on the day.

Thousands of ambulance workers take action on strike

Thousands of ambulance workers in England and Wales are launching 24-hour strike action over real-time pay cuts, describing last-minute talks with the government as “futile” as the Health Secretary Steve Barclay He also refused to discuss the salary.

However, Barclay has used an article in this morning’s edition of the Daily Telegraph to place the blame on trade unions, accusing them of making a “conscious decision” to “harm” patients.

We now know that NHS contingency plans will not cover all 999 calls. Ambulance unions have made a conscious choice to harm patients.

Union leaders insisted that the most serious calls would still be covered by a series of local agreements during the strike; The first of two planned industrial actions. General Secretary of the United Sharon Graham Said claims that many serious calls would receive no response were “misleading” and “intentionally fearing the worst” by ministers.

Christina McNea, the Unison general secretary, said if there were any deaths during the strike it would be “entirely” the government’s fault. “They have been totally irresponsible,” she told TalkTV. “It is completely irresponsible of them to refuse to open any kind of discussion or negotiations with us.”

Earlier, the NHS Confederation and NHS Providers, which collectively represent all NHS organisations, warned the Prime Minister that they were entering “dangerous territory” and urged him to end the impasse.

Members of the three trade unions taking action today – Unison, Unite and GMB – have each been offered a nominal pay rise of £1,400. This is, in effect, a pay cut as the nominal increase of around 4% for most staff is well below inflation.

In evidence before the Commons Health Select Committee, GMB national secretary Rachel Harrison suggested that the government increasing its offer to 7.5% would be enough for the union to test its membership to see if it was enough to end the impasse.

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