The Christmas dates will affect emergency service workers at hospitals in Liverpool and across Merseyside as the three unions coordinate their efforts.
Unison has confirmed ambulance workers will be joined by nurses, porters, healthcare assistants, cleaners and other NHS workers at the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital and Liverpool University Hospital for strike action on Wednesday December 21. The walkout begins at 07.30 on Wednesday 21 December and ends 24 hours later.
The GMB union has confirmed that its members at the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS), which serves Merseyside, will also strike on December 21. GMB members at the NWAS will walk out again on Wednesday December 28. The strikes will be from 00:01 to 23:59 on both dates.
Unison said that more than 80,000 health workers across England have voted to go on strike and is about to begin reballoting around 13,000 NHS staff working for ten trusts and ambulance services where turnout in the recent strike vote fell just short of the threshold required by law.
GMB says more than 10,000 ambulance workers across nine trusts in England and Wales will strike over the Government’s 4.75% pay award, which they say is ‘another massive real terms pay cut’.
More than 1,600 Unite members at the West Midlands, North West and North East ambulance service trusts will join the strike on December 21. The union is continuing to ballot thousands more NHS workers across England and Wales with results expected later this month.
Why have ambulance workers voted to strike?
In July, the Government announced that most NHS staff on Agenda for Change contracts in England would get a pay rise of £1,400, in line with the recommendation of the NHS pay review body.
Despite the pay award, unions view members as being worse off in real terms due to successive below inflation awards over the past decade.
UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said: “The government will only have itself to blame if there are strikes in the NHS before Christmas.
“Ambulance staff and their health colleagues don’t want to inconvenience anyone. But ministers are refusing to do the one thing that could prevent disruption – that’s start genuine talks about pay.
“Wages are too low to stop health workers quitting the NHS. As more and more hand in their notice, there are fewer staff left to care for patients. The public knows that’s the reason behind lengthy waits at A&E, growing ambulance delays, postponed operations and cancelled clinics.
“Threatened NHS strikes in Scotland were called off because ministers there understand higher wages and improved staffing levels go hand in hand. Unfortunately, the penny’s yet to drop for the Westminster government.”
Rachel Harrison, GMB National Secretary, said: “After twelve years of Conservative cuts to the service and their pay packets, NHS staff have had enough.
“The last thing they want to do is take strike action, but the government has left them with no choice.
“Steve Barclay needs to listen and engage with us about pay. If he can’t talk to us about this most basic workforce issue, what on earth is he Health Secretary for?
“The Government could stop this strike in a heartbeat – but they need to wake up and start negotiating on pay.”