NHS strikes continue this week and will run through February and into March, with union Unite announcing 10 more dates for ambulance strikes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The newly announced dates now mean industrial action in the NHS in England will take place across nine days over the next two months, with nurses and ambulance staff strike dates coinciding.
On 6 February, nurses from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) will be joined by ambulance workers from GMB and Unite, marking the biggest walkout so far.
Walkouts in England are set to take place:
- Monday 23 January: Ambulance workers (GMB, Unite and Unison)
- Tuesday 24 January: Ambulance workers (GMB)
- Monday 6 February: Nurses (RCN) and ambulance workers (Unite and GMB)
- Tuesday 7 February: Nurses (RCN)
- Friday 17 February: Ambulance workers (Unite)
- Monday 20 February: Ambulance workers (Unite and GMB)
- Wednesday 22 February: Ambulance workers (Unite)
- Monday 6 March: Ambulance workers (Unite and GMB)
- Monday 20 March: Ambulance workers (Unite and GMB)
Strike action led by Unite will take place across the North West, North East, East Midlands, West Midlands – with additional dates for its members in Wales and Northern Ireland.
Announcing the March dates, Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: ‘Rather than act to protect the NHS and negotiate an end to the dispute, the Government has disgracefully chosen to demonise ambulance workers. Ministers are deliberately misleading the public about the life and limb cover and who is to blame for excessive deaths.’
The union has called on the Government to enter ‘proper negotiations’ over the ongoing pay dispute. It is currently balloting members at four additional ambulance trusts who – if the threshold is met – would potentially join the dispute.
Responding to the announcement, NHS Providers said the additional dates will put the NHS and trust leaders in one of the ‘most challenging days of their careers’.
Miriam Deakin, interim deputy chief executive and director of policy and strategy, said: ‘Nobody wants these strikes to happen but it’s clear that staff feel they have been driven to this. We understand that.
‘Trust leaders will do all they can to mitigate the impact of these strikes but escalating industrial action will only cause further disruption and impact patient care at a time when trust leaders and their staff want to focus on driving down waiting times.’