Ambulance works take further action over pay and staffing levels

Socialist Party members in West Yorkshire visited Unison picket lines at Wakefield Ambulance station, Richmond Hill Ambulance station in Leeds and Yorkshire Ambulance Service headquarters as they took their second round of 12 hour strike action on 23rd January.

Iain Dalton, Socialist Party Yorkshire secretary

Across the picket lines we visited there was a growing anger at the Tory government’s failure to grasp the crisis in the NHS and instead lurching from scandal to scandal. A photo of pickets in Maltby near Rotherham with a handmade banner saying “Rishi – we’ll belt up when you pay up” referring to the Sunak’s fine for not wearing his seat belt, was doing the rounds on WhatsApp whilst we were going round. 

Meanwhile other pickets told us their horror stories of waiting times at hospitals, with one picket having just the last week done a 12 hour shift before having to wait an extra four hours at a hospital to hand over a patient. Others talked about hearing about a crew that arrived at a hospital in the morning only to hand over the patient in the evening!

Last time they were on strike, Unison’s action coincided with that of GMB, and some pickets expressed their disappointment it was only their union out this time (although GMB members did come out to visit picket lines on their breaks whilst we were there). There was optimism that with RCN nurses and GMB ambulance workers strikes coinciding on 6th February, all NHS workers could strike together in the near future.

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