Disruptions to Greater Manchester’s ambulance services are expected in the near future as almost 2,000 North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) paramedics are set to be balloted on a dispute surrounding pay.
This comes after the Government announced a 4% pay award, meaning workers are getting paid up to £2.40 less. A statement from GMB Union claimed this constituted “yet another massive real terms pay cut” in the middle of a cost of living crisis.
The ballot is the result of an 18-month row between the Patient Transfer Service (PTS) and NWAS over wages. A consultative ballot showed that 95% of GMB’s NWAS union members favoured a walkout over pay cuts. GMB has also announced strike ballots for other services in Yorkshire, the Northeast, East Midlands, and West Midlands, meaning the implications of the strikes could be nationwide.
These strikes are part of continuing outrage over the “government’s economic mismanagement”, said GMB organiser Mike Buoey, and only contribute to the widespread feelings of disillusionment with the current Conservative government.
In response to Mike Buoey’s statement that ambulance staff’s pay “barely covers the essentials”, a spokesman for the Department of Health reiterated the government’s strong efforts in supporting NHS workers, with 1 million receiving a pay rise of £1,400 as well as a 3% pay rise last year.
Yet, the Office for National Statistics currently shows 8.6% consumer price inflation in August 2022, revealing the importance of strike action for those working in the public sector. The spokesman urged GMB to “carefully consider the potential impact on patients”.
It is not yet clear how the impact of these strikes will manifest in Greater Manchester, however disruptions when accessing the services will undoubtedly be the main repercussion. The dates for these strikes are set to be announced in the next few days.