NHS chief says health service ‘wouldn’t be right’ if strikes become ‘business as usual’

gave NHS Strikes ‘wouldn’t be right’ if they became ‘business as usual’, the head of the health service has said thousands of health workers are due to walk out in the coming weeks.

A total of more than 2,600 ambulance workers will walk out amid an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions.

Speaking ahead of the industrial action, Matthew Taylor, head of the NHS Confederation, said the strikes were turning into a ‘war of war’.

The NHS is gearing up for the biggest industrial action yet, with nurses and physiotherapists also downsizing.

Over the coming weeks, a number of strikes are planned within the healthcare service, including by nurses, ambulance workers and physiotherapists.

Walk Out Wednesday! February 1st

On February 1, the United Kingdom will come to a standstill after coordinated strike action.

These include:

  • Government servants who are members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS).
  • National Education Union Teachers
  • Train drivers from Aslef and Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) unions
  • University staff from the University College Union

He told Times Radio: ‘About a week ago, you’ll remember there was a sense of some opening, it seemed as if Secretary of State Steve Barclay was ready to talk about pay and, unfortunately, at that pace. There seemed to be, now lost.

‘And it feels like we’re in a destabilizing war.’

Union Unison, Unite and GMB members will stage a 24-hour walkout at West Midlands Ambulance Service.

Strikes are said to affect only non-fatal calls.

The NHS boss said the Government needed to end its ‘ambiguity’ over pay negotiations with unions and find a compromise.

He added: ‘I think there is a sense in the government that if they do compromise on health, it will have ramifications for other industrial disputes in the public sector.

‘Well, I understand that, but I would ask the government to be pragmatic about, you know, what’s going on in terms of health.

‘And if we don’t deal with that, if these strikes become a kind of truce, it becomes business as usual, then we’re not going to recover.’

NHS Confederation chief Matthew Taylor (pictured) said the attacks were turning into a ‘war of war’.

A total of more than 2,600 ambulance workers will walk out amid an ongoing dispute over pay and conditions.

Earlier this month and before previous ambulance strikes in December, patients were told Category 1 calls, meaning the most life-threatening conditions such as a heart attack or stroke, would be answered by an ambulance.

But less urgent calls under category 2, where conditions are not considered life-threatening, were expected to have longer waiting times for an ambulance.

Urgent problems that fit into category 3, such as a woman in late labor, will not be a publicized priority.

Last week Health Secretary Steve Barclay said he had not been convinced that ‘voluntary arrangements’ for emergency services could ‘ensure patient and public safety’ during an ambulance strike.

Their letter to the GMB follows that of more than 10,000 ambulance workers across nine ambulance services in England and Wales earlier this month.

Next month, nurses who are members of the Royal College of Nursing will hold another walkout on February 6 and 7.

Mr Barclay said that while he acknowledged that Category 1 calls were answered, he said there was a lack of cover for Category 2 calls in other parts of the country.

Mr Taylor said: ‘I think both sides will have to compromise. This is how negotiations work.

‘But I think the government’s ambivalence about being prepared to talk about pay doesn’t help.

‘I think the trade unions have said, if we can negotiate pay, we will enter into negotiations.

‘This creates an environment where it may be possible, for example, to persuade unions to postpone their strikes, to sideline them while negotiations are taking place.

‘So I think it falls on the government.’

The industrial action by ambulance workers is the latest in a series of winter strikes affecting everything from healthcare to teaching.

On Friday, Unite announced it would extend strike action by ambulance staff throughout February.

It said its members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland would hold 10 more strikes in the coming weeks, warning that more dates could be added soon if the pay row is not resolved.

Sharon Graham, the union’s general secretary, said: ‘It is the Government’s disastrous handling of the NHS that has brought it to breaking point, and as the crisis piles up, the Prime Minister appears to be washing her hands of the controversy.

“What a disrespect. Is to give up leadership.’

Nurses have been on strike for months after the RCN said its staff had been working with a 20 per cent cut in original terms pay since 2010.

Next month, nurses who are members of the Royal College of Nursing will hold another walkout on February 6 and 7.

The RCN said its staff had been dealing with a 20 per cent cut in real terms pay since 2010.

Now, they have demanded a five per cent increase in salary at 19.2 per cent above inflation.

Physiotherapists will also be among the striking health workers, with the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CPS) planning strike action this weekend on January 26 and February 9.

More than 4,000 physiotherapists from 30 NHS trusts across England will strike if a new pay offer is not put on the table.

But isn’t it just healthcare services that are being affected by industrial action?

Earlier this month and before previous ambulance strikes in December, patients were told Category 1 calls, meaning the most life-threatening conditions such as cardiac arrest or stroke, would be answered by an ambulance.

Last week Health Secretary Steve Barclay said he had not been convinced that ‘voluntary arrangements’ for emergency services could ‘ensure patient and public safety’ during ambulance strikes.

Chaos on the country’s transport links is expected to continue as more railway strikes and bus strikes are planned in the coming weeks.

Last week, train drivers from the militant RMT and Aslef unions said there would be further walkouts on February 1 and 3.

This follows several strikes during December and January that wreaked havoc during the festive season.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘Our discussions will continue with rail operators to create a package on jobs, conditions and pay that can be offered to our members.’

In a bid to end the ongoing disruption, train operating companies have put forward their ‘best and final offer’.

It includes a minimum wage increase of 9 percent over two years and a promise that there will be no mandatory redundancies until the end of December 2024.

While there are no plans to strike for Unite members working at Abelio in south and west London, the union has said the new pay offer is ‘unacceptable’ and fails to meet demands.

The union argues the pay offer will leave full-time drivers who have worked for the company for less than two years earning £3.29 an hour less than colleagues with more than two years’ service. are

Around 100,000 civil servants are due to strike on February 1 following an ongoing dispute over pay, jobs and conditions.

Civil servants who are members of the Public and Commercial Services Union belong to 124 government departments.

The union is demanding a 10 percent pay rise, as well as job cuts and pension protection.

Border Force staff, National Highways workers and driving examiners also walked out in December.

Education will also be affected by the industrial action.

Thousands of teachers in England and Wales will go on strike after 300,000 members of the National Education Union (NEU) voted to demand a ‘fully-funded, above-inflation pay rise’. A picture of a strike by academics in Scotland earlier this month

Thousands of teachers in England and Wales will go on strike after 300,000 members of the National Education Union (NEU) voted to demand a ‘fully-funded, above-inflation pay rise’.

February 1 will mark the first day of strike action, affecting 23,000 schools in both countries, with two more strikes in other parts of the country on February 14 and 28.

It follows an ongoing walkout by teachers in Scotland, which has caused some schools to close for the day.

The staggered regional strikes will continue for 16 days, with two different local authority areas striking each day.

Education Scotland has rejected a five per cent pay offer from the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).

Instead, they are demanding a 10 percent inflation-adjusted salary hike.

Members of the University College Union are also conducting fresh strikes affecting university students.

Train drivers from the militant RMT and Aslef unions said there would be further walkouts on February 1 and 3. Photo: RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch

On February 1, 70,000 staff members from 150 universities will go on strike over ongoing issues over pay, pensions and working conditions.

Another 17-day strike is also planned during February and March.

To prevent the sheer disruption seen in the past few months, the government has proposed a strike bill that would set a minimum service level for frontline workers taking industrial action.

Last week, MPs voted in favor of a bill that gives ministers the power to make minimum service rules, under which workers can be fired if they refuse to work during a strike.

After a heated debate in the House of Commons about the proposals, MPs voted to accept the bill’s first reading by a margin of 60, with 309 votes in favor to 249 against.

Unions have criticized the bill and Labor has accused the government of ‘threatening nurses to strike’ by implementing the changes.

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