Ambulance crews and staff at Milton Keynes Hospital will stage a 12-hour strike next week.
The industrial action, by members of the public sector trade union UNISON, is part of an ongoing dispute over the government rejecting a recommended one per cent pay rise for NHS staff. Union bosses claim that government intransigence is “putting patients lives at risk.”
Hospital staff will walk out for 12 hours from 9am-9pm on Thursday (January 29). They will then work to rule for nearly a month, from Friday. January 30 to Tuesday, February 24. This will mean staff only work their contracted hours and will take their breaks and not do unpaid overtime.
A second 24-hour strike will then take place on February 25.
Ambulance staff will also strike, from midday to midnight on Thursday,
Tony Jones, UNISON south east regional head of health, said: “We warned months ago that this dispute is here to stay unless the government and NHS employers are prepared to negotiate with us.
“We decided not to take strike action over the Christmas period as services were already at breaking point at this time. Our members are demonstrating their concern for patient safety. I only wish the employers and government would do the same.
“Instead they are being completely irresponsible by refusing to have meaningful negotiations on how we resolve this dispute. And they are putting patients lives at risk.”
This is the third round of legal action over the pay dispute.
The one per cent pay rise was recommended by the independent Pay Review Body in 2014 only to be rejected by the government.
MPs’ pay is due to rise by 11 per cent this year.
Mr Jones added: “Our members’ pay has been frozen or held down for the past five years and there is no end in sight. On average, they have lost around 10 per cent in the value of their pay over the life of this Parliament.
“We now have no option but to escalate and plan for longer strikes. The anger among health workers has reached levels where they are now ready to walk out for 24 hours. NHS staffs have been singled out by this coalition government for the worst treatment across the public sector.”