Ambulance and Border Force staff are staging fresh strikes today as the long-running disputes over pay, staffing and conditions continue.
Members of GMB and Unite in the West Midlands will mount picket lines outside hospitals across the region on Friday (16 February).
Stuart Richards, GMB senior organiser, said: “West Midlands ambulance workers are on strike over this year’s pay. But ministers seem to think GMB members will be fobbed off by pretending this year’s cost of living crisis hasn’t happened.
“They are wrong. The government could easily get these strikes suspended, so why are they leaving NHS workers and the public to suffer? It’s simple – talk pay now and make a decent offer for this year. Our members and the public are waiting.”
At the same time, members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) in Dover and French ports including Calais will also walk out. The Border Force strikes will run from Friday over the weekend until 20 February as workers demand better pay, pensions and job security. The union claimed inexperienced staff were being brought in to cover for striking workers.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “Ministers say their priority is security – it obviously isn’t. They say they have no money to give our hard-working members a fair pay rise, but then find money to pay non-striking workers a healthy bonus, to pay for their transport across the country and to pay for four nights’ hotel accommodation.
“If ministers were serious about security, they would resolve this dispute immediately by putting money on the table to ensure fully-trained, experienced professionals are guarding our borders.”
Friday’s walkouts come after rail workers and nurses announced further strike dates for next month. Members of the Rail, Martine and Transport union (RMT) will walk out on 16, 18 and 30 March and 1 April at 14 train operators. The union’s members at Network Rail will strike on 16 March and will then launch a ban on overtime, after accusing employers of refusing to put any new offers on the table.
Meanwhile, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has announced a significant escalation in strike action at more than 120 NHS employers in England in the increasingly bitter dispute over pay and staffing. The next strike will run continuously for 48 hours from 6am on 1 March.
Royal Mail workers have also voted overwhelmingly to continue with a campaign of industrial action in a bitter dispute over pay, jobs and conditions. A fresh ballot of members of the Communication Workers Union showed almost 96% were in favour of more strikes unless the deadlock is broken.
CWU general secretary Dave Ward said it was a “stunning” result which showed that Royal Mail workers were determined to continue campaigning against plans to introduce changes in the company.