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One of the largest trade unions in Great Britain announces another 10 days of strike

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COVENTRY, UK – 21 December 2022: Unite general secretary Sharon Graham (centre) joins ambulance workers picketing outside Ambulance HQ in Coventry. On Friday 20 January, Unite announced another 10 days of strike action as the dispute between the government and the Ambulance Service escalated.

Images by Jacob King/PA via Getty Images

LONDON – One of Britain’s biggest unions on Friday announced 10 extra days of strike action over the coming weeks as a standoff between the government and emergency workers intensifies.

More than 2,600 ambulance workers in Wales and the West Midlands, North West, North East and East Midlands of England are already set to walk out on Monday as part of an ongoing dispute over pay and staffing.

The recently announced strikes will affect the North West (6, 22 February and 20 March), the North East (6, 20 February and 6, 20 March), the East Midlands (6, 20 February and 6, 20 March), the West Midlands (6 , February 17 and March 6, 20), Wales (February 6, 20 and March 6, 20) and Northern Ireland (January 26 and February 16, 17, 23 and 24).

Additional ballots are currently being held at four other ambulance trusts, which could potentially join the dispute later next month, the union said.

“Rather than act to protect the NHS and negotiate an end to the dispute, the Government has shamefully chosen to demonize ambulance workers. Ministers are deliberately misleading the public about the protection of life and limb and who is to blame for the excessive number of deaths,” said Unite General . This was stated by Secretary of State Sharon Graham.

“Our members are committed to protecting life and limb on strike days, and it’s not the unions that are failing to provide a minimum level of service: this government’s disastrous handling of the NHS has pushed it to breaking point.”

The union said its representatives would work regionally to ensure life and limb emergency supplies are available during the strikes, while patients needing life-saving treatment will still be seen.

Prime Minister Risha Sunak’s government introduced the controversial anti-strike legislation to “ensure a minimum level of service” in key public services, in a move criticized by unions as an attack on workers’ rights.

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The legislation would force some employees to work during the strike. Government ministers have publicly accused ambulance workers of putting lives at risk by staging mass events, sparking a widespread backlash from unions and political opponents.

Unite National lead Onay Kassab said the decision was “in the hands of the government” and the dispute would only end when the UK leadership entered into “proper negotiations” over pay.

“The government’s constant attempts to stop work and its talk of one-time payments or slightly increased payments in the future are simply not enough to resolve this dispute,” Kasab said.

Members of the Royal College of Nursing and Ambulance Workers, part of the GMB union, are also on strike on February 6. GMB has scheduled further action on 20 February, 6 and 20 March.

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