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NHS pay dispute shows no sign of abating as North West ambulance workers strike

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Nearly 2,000 ambulance workers have launched another day of strike action as a bitter dispute over pay for NHS staff shows no signs of resolution.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday he was not going to be able to “wavy a magic wand” and that giving pay rises to striking staff would move money “elsewhere in the NHS budget”.

But he insisted the government would continue to “engage in dialogue with the unions”.

It comes as around 2,000 ambulance workers in the North West of England have launched a new strike.

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The GMB union said paramedics, emergency care assistants and call handlers began their 24-hour walkout just after midnight on Tuesday morning.

GMB representative and North West Ambulance Service paramedic Paul Turner said, “North West Ambulance staff are furious.”

“Instead of talking about this year’s salary to resolve this dispute, the minister is demonizing us and undermining our efforts to save lives.

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“The NHS is collapsing, yet we have been waiting two weeks on for another meeting with ministers today.

“A fair wage offer is the only way to resolve this dispute. We are waiting.”

This is the second day of strike by ambulance workers in the area following a walkout by members of the Unison and Unite unions on Monday.

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The North West Ambulance Service said “resources will be severely restricted” as it urged the public to only call for life-threatening emergencies.

On Monday, the prime minister told ITV News: “Stepping back, of course it would be great to be able to wave a magic wand and give everyone what they were asking for when it comes to paying .

“But my job as prime minister is to make the right decisions for the country, and they are often not easy decisions.

“But it’s my job, and that’s what I’ll always do in this job, and … when you think about it, how are we going to pay for these things?” Where is the money going to come from?

“In reality, it’s probably going to come from elsewhere in the NHS budget, and that means fewer nurses, fewer doctors, fewer MRI scanners and CT scanners diagnosing people with cancer or indeed fewer mental health ambulances.” that we’re announcing today that are going to save people from going to A&E.

“My job is to balance all those things and do what I think is right for the country.”

But he said the government would continue talks with the unions.

It comes a day after thousands of ambulance workers went on strike in England and Wales on Monday.

The combined walkout in early February could lead to the largest walkout the NHS has ever experienced.

If there is no agreement by then, thousands of nurses and ambulance personnel are to walk out from the stage on 6 February.

And as nurses take strike action on 7 February, they will be joined by midwives in Wales.

Members of the Royal College of Midwives in Wales are to hold an eight-hour walkout from 8am to 4pm, but they will provide “bank holiday cover” for women in labour.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay has described “constructive talks with unions about the pay process for the coming year for 2023/24”, but unions are demanding a review of the 2022/23 pay award.

(tagsto be translated) Prime Minister

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