Strikes latest: Ambulance workers walk out over pay; minister … – Sky News

Cost of living latest as ambulance workers become the latest to launch strike action; unions say the government is refusing to talk; the public are urged to keep themselves safe.
A bus company has said it is “deeply disappointed” that drivers are to stage a series of strikes in a dispute over pay.
Members of Unite employed by Abellio in London will stage 11 strikes from Christmas Eve until January 26.
Jon Eardley, managing director of Abellio London, said: “We urge Unite to recognise Abellio’s 12% pay deal and encourage their members to resume normal services.
“The Abellio pay deal comes with no conditions and sees bus driver basic pay rise by an average of £100 per week and over £5,000 per year, bringing an established bus driver’s salary to around £40,000 per year. We also currently pay one of the highest rates in London for new bus drivers.
“The pay deal will be implemented in January 2023 to ensure that all drivers benefit from a significant uplift in salary, despite Unite not allowing members the opportunity to express their views via a ballot.
“We are deeply disappointed that despite this offer, Unite plan to continue strike action over Christmas and into the new year, bringing further disruption to hundreds of thousands of Londoners.”
The bus drivers have already taken 10 days of strike action in November and December.
The bus drivers are based at garages in Battersea, Beddington, Hayes, Southall, Twickenham and Walworth.
National Highways workers have announced they will go on strike from tomorrow until Christmas Day in the latest phase of industrial action by the biggest civil service union.
The strike involves members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) working as on-road traffic officers and regional operating centre operatives, in London and south-east England.
The four-day walkout by workers who plan, design, build, operate and maintain the roads follows action by colleagues in Yorkshire & Humber, north-west and north-east England.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “We’re aware our action is likely to inconvenience travellers but, even as we escalate it ahead of Christmas, we remind people this dispute could be resolved today if the Government puts more money on the table.
“Our members are telling us they have to cut back their spending at Christmas time because they are running out of money. They have been offered a below-inflation pay award, at a time when inflation is higher than 10%.”
Amid condemnation of health secretary Steve Barclay’s comments about striking workers today, the education secretary has also become the focus of criticism over remarks she has made.
Gillian Keegan prompted the backlash after saying a teacher’s salary was in the top 10% of earners in some parts of the country.
Facing questions from teachers and parents during a radio call-in show, she said the government had agreed to union demands to increase funding for schools but was told it was not enough and that conditions also had to change.
“We have raised the starting salary because of the need to attract graduates, £28,000 for someone starting straight from uni and that will be £30,000 by 2024,” she told LBC.
“My cousin has just started teaching and she is on £28,000. She is 23 and lives in Knowsley (Merseyside). She is single and lives with her mum and dad but the reality is that she is in a good career, it’s probably within the top 10% of earners in some parts of the country.”
However, one teacher from Bromley, Kent, replied: “The fact that teachers are one of the higher paid public servants in this country, as a low-wage economy, I think that is something more shameful than something to celebrate.
“I know how far my wages go each month, I know many people who have second and third jobs because they cannot make ends meet.
“If you live at home and you don’t have any outgoings or children, that money doesn’t have to go towards paying a mortgage. When you write down the numbers on a piece of paper they don’t add up.”
She said she had voted to strike: “It’s a very difficult thing to do, you have chosen that job because you want to make a difference to people’s lives and the last thing you want to do is not turn up to work.”
Teaching unions the NASUWT, National Education Union and National Association of Head Teachers are all balloting members on strike action in England and Wales, while the Association of School and College Leaders has launched a consultative ballot.
GMB union representative Paul Turner has been thanking members of the public showing their support today amid the ongoing strikes.
Speaking from the picket line in Lancaster, Mr Turner said GMB members were “showing their solidarity” against the “despicable pay offer” from the government.
“The support from the public has been absolutely fantastic and well done to everyone here today showing their solidarity for GMB,” he added.
Members of the military have been helping healthcare workers today as ambulance workers stage their walkout.
About 600 members of the army, navy and the RAF have been drafted in from across the country to help during the strikes, some of whom have never driven the vehicles before.

Personnel covering for striking ambulance workers today will not be allowed to break red lights or turn on blue lights when driving.
Members of the armed forces are not due to be sent on critical emergency callouts or carry out clinical tasks but ambulance trainers have told them they should be prepared to hand equipment to their clinical partners if asked.
Footage has emerged of a young boy giving paramedics and ambulance workers chocolates as they stand at the picket line in Manchester.
The clip, which was shared by LBC reporter Tom Dunn, shows the child walking to staff members with his mother and handing a box of chocolates to a paramedic.
The scenes come after a YouGov poll found a majority of Britons support strikes by nurses and ambulance workers (see 14.04 post).
A nurse and lifelong Conservative voter has said the Tories are “just letting us down” – and that Health Secretary Steve Barclay had made him feel as though he is “not worth anything”.
Ahead of the strikes today, Mr Barclay accused trade unions of making a “conscious decision” to “inflict harm” on patients in a piece for the Daily Telegraph.
Asked on BBC Breakfast whether his language was “ramping up this current atmosphere”, he also said: “No, it reflects the very different action we’ve seen from these trade unions – the GMB, Unite and Unison – compared to what we saw from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), where we agreed national exemptions in terms of what would be covered by the RCN.
“The three unions striking today have refused to work with us on a national level.”

Addressing the comments, Clint, 53, a nurse from East Yorkshire who joined the profession 30 years ago, said: “What the health secretary has said to me today is that you’re not worth anything.
“He was saying that we will not come to the table and negotiate. My colleagues are going to food banks. That is a terrible thing in a country that is the fifth biggest economy in the world.
“I voted Tory consistently all my life but now they’re just letting us down.”
However, Clint said that despite the government’s treatment of the NHS, he will not be striking as he does not want to leave his patients.
Today is a “difficult day” and it should “never have got to this”, NHS doctor Sonia Adesara has said.
Dr Adesara said healthcare workers were “doing their best” to ensure everyone was safe amid the ongoing strikes today.
She went on to say that it should “never have got to this”.
Earlier today, unions – and one of his Tory predecessors (see 13.47 post) criticised Health Secretary Steve Barclay over the strike, after he said staff had made a “conscious choice to inflict harm” on patients.
Rachel Harrison of the GMB union said: “Ambulance workers are seething at such a crude, insulting attempt to divert attention from the government’s continued chaos in the NHS.

“The public know it’s not ambulance workers who have presided over a decade of failure.
“Already today, paramedics and ambulance workers have left picket lines to attend to emergency calls. They’ll always put the public first. It’s time for the government to follow their example.”
A former GP receptionist for the NHS has said “lives are at risk” amid ongoing strike action today after her two-week-old grandson was left waiting for an ambulance for five hours last night.
Deb Robinson, 53, from Derby, explained her son and his partner called 111 at 6pm yesterday after their newborn son began to struggle with his breathing. They were told their child needed an ambulance.
The parents were forced to rush the baby to the hospital themselves after five hours of waiting, which Ms Robinson said they would have done at 6pm if they had known.
“(They are) still in A&E as there are nine other minors waiting for a bed. He is on oxygen, he has bronchiolitis,” she said.
“A tiny baby needing oxygen being delayed by a few hours I do sympathise I do, I know not all wanted to strike. But lives are at risk.
“It’s a good job his breathing didn’t worsen or his cough get worse. 
“I don’t have the answers (but) if everyone cares as much for patients as they say they do, I can’t understand why they physically strike and remove themselves from their positions.”
A majority of Britons support strikes by nurses and ambulance workers, a YouGov survey has found.
The latest survey found 66% of the public supported nurses in their walkout while 63% supported ambulance workers in their strike today.
Earlier, the Royal College of Nursing  confirmed nurses in Scotland are set to go on strike early in 2023.
The move could see members of RCN Scotland taking part in strikes for the first time ever.
The union said it will announce dates for strike action early in the new year and “the ball is in the Scottish government’s court” if it is going to be avoided.
Be the first to get Breaking News
Install the Sky News app for free Homepage © 2022 Sky UK


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *