Huge shift from Government means talks can begin, says GMB Union
National ambulance strikes have been suspended after GMB and other unions agreed to talks with the Government.
After months of waiting, the Health Secretary wrote to unions within hours of GMB ambulance workers announcing they would reduce emergency cover on strike days.
The Department of Health and Social Care has now agreed to discuss pay for both this year and next year - as well improvements to other terms and conditions.
Unions have also received assurances there is additional cash for both years above existing budgets and that any deal would respect the existing Agenda for Change structure.
In return, national ambulance strikes on March 6 and 8 involving more than 13,000 workers have now been suspended.
Other planned NHS strikes at Mersey Care and Barnsley Hospital have also been paused.
GMB members striking in the Welsh Ambulance service have also agreed to suspend action on Monday for further talks with the trust and the Welsh Government.
Talks are expected to commence early next week.
Rachel Harrison, GMB National Secretary, said:
“GMB ambulance workers announced a tightening of the derogations for cover on strike days.
“Less than 24 hours later we received a letter from the Secretary of State for Health, Steve Barclay, inviting us and other unions to pay talks.
“This is a huge shift from the Government, who for months have refused to consider negotiations on pay.
“Now, they are saying they are willing to sit down and talk.
“The Government has given assurances of additional cash for both years above existing budgets and that any deal will respect the existing Agenda for Change structure.
“GMB’s ambulance workers have agreed to suspend industrial action so talks can begin – however the strike will return with a vengeance should talks break down.”
Media enquiries: GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at [email protected]