Strike action by ambulance staff suspended

Ambulances outside Wansbeck General Hospital.
Ambulances outside Wansbeck General Hospital.

A 24-hour strike by ambulance staff planned for Thursday will now not go ahead following a pay proposal put forward by the Government, it was announced this afternoon.

GMB members had planned to strike for the full 24 hours with Unison members on strike from noon until midnight in a dispute over pay. North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) NHS Foundation Trust had warned that a significantly reduced service would be operating during the strike, responding only to patients with life-threatening conditions.

But about 5pm today, it was announced that the NHS trade unions have suspended the industrial action planned for this Thursday.

GMB is to consult 22,000 members in the NHS in England and Northern Ireland on a new offer that has emerged after a week of talks to resolve the dispute. A national meeting of senior representatives will take place next Wednesday where full details of the offer will be set out and the timetable for a consultation will be agreed.

Rehana Azam, GMB national officer, said: “GMB is pleased that after a week of talks we have secured a new offer. This enables us to suspend the strike action while we consult with our members on whether they wish to accept the offer or not.”

Meanwhile, Unison head of health and the unions’ lead negotiator, Christina McAnea, said: “The two strike days staged by health workers last year have moved the Government to negotiate with the unions.

“This isn’t a great offer, but it addresses some of the key concerns unions have about low pay in the NHS. In the interest of patients’ safety, unions will now consult members. It will be up to members to decide whether to accept or reject the proposals. If they choose to reject them we will move to further industrial action.”