GMB and Unison suspend ambulance workers strike action but Unite members still to walk out on Monday

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The GMB and Unison have called off strike action for members after agreeing to talks with the Government but members of Unite union will still walk out.

The Health Secretary wrote to unions following an announcement that GMB ambulance workers 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 as improvements to other terms and conditions.

Unions, which include Unison as well as GMB, have suspended strikes on March 6 and 8 involving more than 13,000 workers. Talks are expected to commence early next week.

However, industrial action is still planned to take place by Unite at organisations including South East Coast Ambulance Service on Monday 6 March, with members walking out for the first time since industrial action began in December 2022.

The period of industrial action will be from midday to midnight on 6 March for Unite.

The public are asked to only calling 999 in the event of a genuine emergency.

People are urged to make use of alternatives to calling 999 if they are not facing a serious emergency including seeing help and advice via NHS 111 Online at

Unite Executive Head of Operations, Gail Cartmail, said: “The government has said for months that it cannot negotiate and then when suddenly it is prepared to, it lists a series of totally unreasonable pre-conditions for starting talks. This isn’t a negotiation it’s an ultimatum.”

The decision to go ahead with the strike action was unanimous and made by Unite lay representatives from the ambulance trusts involved in the dispute.

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.”


  1. This is becoming like the USA. Americans wisely advise ‘whatever you do, don’t get sick’.

  2. Advice to phone 111, are they having a laugh? You can wait up to an hour and they have three doctors on call for the whole of Kent!
    Only solution is to pay ambulance drivers and paramedics proper wages that reflect their skills and training. Driving jobs now command better money and the Government should cough up now!

  3. I really hope that a member of ‘Unite’s’ family requires urgent medical assistance, and are told ‘sorry, we’re on strike ‘
    Only do what you wish on others, and that sentiment is for everyone that strikes. Over £1.00 to send a ‘first class letter’ when an email arrives within seconds. Do we really need a postal service. It has been proved that people can work from home, so do people really need to commute to work every day by an unreliable train service. The list can go on and on.

    • Wish ill health onto strikers is poor and really just up you for being an uncaring member of society.

      What these workers do ?

      Just sit back and get paid peanuts and start losing their homes because they cant afford their mortgage. Or go hungry and cold after saving your life ?.

      Glad I am not from your world Paul

  4. When we can no longer get any ambulance because they can’t recruit any drivers, when you’re seriously injured in a train smash because safety standards were cut on the railways and all our rivers and coastal waters disappear under a sludge of sewage, perhaps you will wish you had listened to those union folk?

  5. Ironic, isn’t it, that only during strikes is there a guaranteed minimum service level.
    During “normal” times, you can just whistle.
    Just about all the public sector workers taking industrial action are doing so to get their pay back to what it ought to be, had the government given them annual cost-of-living increases.

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