Please note that this article provides a situation update as it stands on Wednesday 7 December 2022; given strike action is in response to a national pay dispute with government, numerous conversations taking place nationally, regionally and locally, meaning the situation will develop over the coming days and week, and therefore the following detail is subject to change.
Trade Unions for ambulance staff across the UK have been holding ballots to determine whether their members are supportive of industrial action as part of a national pay dispute with the government.
NHS pay levels are agreed at a national and not at a local level and are therefore negotiated nationally for NHS employees.
The national Trade Union ballot results have now been confirmed by all four unions – Royal College of Nursing (RCN), GMB, Unison and Unite unions.
GMB at EMAS received enough votes to have a mandate to strike and take action short of a strike. Strike action is planned to take place on Wednesday, 21 December at 06.00 hours to 06.00 hours on Thursday, 22 December; and Wednesday, 28 December 2022, at 06.00 hours to 06.00 hours on Thursday, 29 December 2022.
Nationally, NHS England, NHS Employers, and the Association of Ambulance Chief Executive’s (AACE) continue to hold talks with Trade Unions.
At EMAS, constructive meetings are taking place with our trade union colleagues and we are working together to identify and try to agree mutually acceptable derogations (also known as exemptions) during industrial action. These will be adhered to by EMAS, via control and operations, and we respect the right of all trade union members to make their own decision.
At EMAS we respect the right of our staff and members of the trade unions to take industrial action peacefully and when there is a lawful mandate to do so.
During the period of the dispute, we will do all we can to minimise the impact on our patients’ safety and will continue to work very closely with our Trade Union colleagues, regional service providers and NHS Employers and carry on supporting the wellbeing of our staff.
Ballot results at EMAS
· Unison at EMAS did not meet the required number of ballot votes to have a mandate to take strike action, or action short of a strike. Therefore, currently there will be no action undertaken by Unison members working at EMAS. We understand the union intends to re-ballot members; however, we have not heard yet when this may take place.
· GMB at EMAS received enough votes to have a mandate to strike and take action short of a strike.
· Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has confirmed that no ambulance service will be directly involved in strike action on 15 and 20 December 2022.
· Unite are yet to share with us an update following their ballot.
We are committed to keeping our staff, volunteers, stakeholders and the public updated as this situation progresses, so please look out for further information on our website.