North East Ambulance Service staff to vote on strike action

North East paramedics could be set to walk out in a row over pay.

The GMB union has announced that it is to ballot members at the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) on strike action. Ballot dates will be announced in the coming days.

The vote comes after a consultative ballot which saw almost 90 per cent of members employed by the service vote in favour of a walk out.

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Trust bosses have vowed to work with unions to keep critical services in the event of a ‘yes’ vote.

GMB has almost 750 NEAS Paramedics and ambulance workers, who are angry over the Government’s imposed four per cent pay award, which it says leaves them facing a ‘massive’ real terms pay cut.

The union has also announced a formal strike ballot among almost 1,5000 of its members employed by the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

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GMB organiser Michael Hunt said staff should not be worrying about having to choose between eating or heating this winter. “Ambulance workers should not be worrying about having to choose between eating or heating this winter whilst providing a crucial public service across our communities.

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North East Ambulance Service staff are to vote on strike action

“North East Ambulance Service is in disarray; it can only keep going thanks to the good will of the overworked and undervalued crews.

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“But good will only goes so far.

“GMB members have a clear message for the Government and the employer: ‘we are worth more, we deserve more, we are willing to make a stand and we want a ballot for strike action’.

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“GMB Union will stand shoulder to shoulder with our members and fight for the above inflation pay rise that our NHS workers deserve.”

Karen O’Brien, NEAS director of people and development, said: “Although NHS pay is set nationally, and outside of our control, we recognise this is a very difficult time for everyone right now, including our colleagues.

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"We value the contribution of all our colleagues who work incredibly hard every day to keep our patients safe. We understand their concerns around feeling overworked, and are confident that this feeling should start to ease following significant additional investment in our service, which is being spent on recruiting more people to join our teams.

“If industrial action is taken, we will work together with our trade union colleagues to keep critical services running.”