Thousands more ambulance workers are on strike as the chancellor was urged to find funds to “fairly” pay health workers to end the walkout.
Up to 15,000 Unison ambulance workers are striking on Monday for the third time in five weeks, and will be joined by 5,000 of their NHS colleagues at two hospital trusts in Liverpool.
More strikes by nurses and other NHS staff are planned in the coming weeks.
The unions have accused the government of not wanting to find a solution to the growing and bitter dispute over wages.
It’s easy, all the Chancellor has to do is raise funds to pay health workers fairly
The unit’s general secretary, Sharon Graham, said striking NHS staff should be offered a double-digit pay rise, but described the government as being “ready to talk about anything but what they want in pay”. Won’t talk about”.
Unison’s general secretary Christina McEnnea said the solution was “simple” and “the one the government is facing” but “most ministers look as if they would prefer to dig in rather than raise salaries and do nothing”.
Ms McEnany accused Chancellor Jeremy Hunt of “blocking progress”.
Health Secretary Steve Barclay has described having “constructive talks with unions about this coming year’s pay process for 2023/24”, but unions have demanded a review of the 2022/23 pay award.
Steve Barclay said further strike action by ambulance workers this week is “extremely disappointing” and will “inevitably” lead to disruption of the healthcare service.
Thousands of members of Unison, Unite and GMB unions are walking out across England and Wales on Monday.
From 7am onwards, paramedics, emergency care assistants, ambulance technicians, other 999 crew members and control room staff were joining picket lines across five services in England – London, Yorkshire, North West, North East and South West.
Porters, cleaners, nurses, midwives, paramedics, theater workers and other NHS workers at Liverpool University Hospitals Trust and the city’s Heart and Chest Hospital are also on strike.
On Sunday, Ms Graham indicated a 10% pay rise would be considered by union members, saying Labor must show “real leadership” by coming out and saying that is what it would do if it were the party in power. Would offer
Last week, Mr Barclay rejected a 10% pay rise for nurses, saying it was “not affordable”.
I’m having a conversation with someone at the moment who I don’t think wants a solution, and it’s a real problem.
Ms Graham accused the government of being unable to negotiate or wanting to privatize the NHS.
She told Sky’s Sophie Ridge on Sunday: “The public are supportive of that pay rise as we can see from the polls, and we’ve got employers, in this instance the government, talking about whatever, but they Won’t talk about pay.”
He described Prime Minister Rishi Sunak as “missing in action” and said he believed the government was either at an “unrealistic” level of incompetence in terms of negotiations or “given that they are going to take care of the NHS”. can privatize”.
In a sign of poor relations between government and unions, Ms Graham accused ministers of “lying” and not being “an honest partner on the other side of the table”.
She said: “I’m having a conversation with someone at the moment who I don’t think wants a solution, and it’s a real problem.”
Ms McEnnea said: “The solution to the growing NHS crisis lies before the Government. It is simple, all the Chancellor has to do is raise funds to pay health workers fairly.
“The public wants the government to end the controversy, so do NHS staff, but most ministers seem to dig into it and do nothing rather than promote and help turn the ailing NHS around.”
She said: “It is ludicrous that this chancellor is stalling progress. Jeremy Hunt knows the NHS better than anyone in cabinet.
“As health secretary, she negotiated a pay deal to end the 2015 NHS strike and pushed for fair pay as chair of the health select committee. But as chancellor he has chosen to forget all that.
Stuart Richards, GMB senior organiser, said: “Instead of working to solve the problems, this government has demonized the ambulance crews who provided life and limb cover during the days of the strike.
“A fair wage offer is the only way to resolve this dispute. We are waiting.”
In a statement on Sunday Mr Barclay said: “It is extremely disappointing that some ambulance staff are continuing to take industrial action. While we have contingency plans in place to reduce the risks to patient safety, there will inevitably be further disruption .
“It is vital that people keep coming forward for treatment – calling 999 in life-threatening emergencies and using NHS 111 online, local pharmacies and GP services for non-life-threatening care.
“I have had constructive talks with unions about the pay process for the coming year for 2023/24, and look forward to continuing to negotiate about what is affordable and fair.”
NHS Medical Director Professor Sir Stephen Powis said: “As with other ambulance attacks, the message to patients remains that it is important to come forward and seek emergency care if necessary.
“This includes calling 999 for life-threatening emergencies, as well as using 111 online for other health needs, where you will receive clinical advice on the next best steps to take.
“People should continue to use local services such as the pharmacy and general practice as they normally would which are not affected by the strike action.”
February 6 is likely to see the biggest NHS strike action ever, with thousands of nurses and ambulance workers staging a walkout if no deal is reached by then.
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