North East Ambulance Service staff to vote on strike action this month

Ambulance crews across South Tyneside are to vote on strike action this month.

The GMB Union announced in September that it was to ballot members at the North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) over industrial action.

Now it has confirmed voting will take place between October 24 and November 29 and any action could be held before Christmas

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The GMB represents almost 750 NEAS Paramedics and ambulance workers, who it says are angry over the Government’s imposed four per cent pay award.

NEAS is just one of 11 trusts which will be balloting across England and Wales. In total, more than 15,000 ambulance workers will take part in the vote.

GMB national officer Rachel Harrison said workers had ‘just had enough’: “They’ve not been on strike in decades, but they are at the end of what they can take,” she said.

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“Pay has been systematically slashed for more than ten years and we now face the worst cost of living crush in a generation.

"Meanwhile vacancies are at record highs and we have the worst A&E delays ever - and it’s not even the winter flu season yet.

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North East Ambulance Service staff are to be balloted over strike action

“But this is about more than pay and conditions. Cuts and shortages mean GMB members feel they are unable to deliver safe standards of patient care.

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“Things can’t go on like this - something has to give.”

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NEAS director of people and development Karen O’Brien said bosses would work with the union to protect critical services in the event of industrial action.

“Although NHS pay is set nationally, and is therefore outside of our control, we recognise this is a very difficult time for everyone right now, including our colleagues,” she said.

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"We value the contribution of all our colleagues who, regardless of where they work within our organisation, 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.

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