Britain faces new ambulance strike dates in February, March

British labour union Unite said ambulance workers would strike on a series of new dates in February and March, in the latest sign of the deepening dispute between the government and healthcare workers over pay.

Unite said ambulance workers in England would walk-out on Feb. 6, Feb. 17, Feb. 20 and Feb. 22 and Mar. 6 and Mar. 20, with members in different regions holding walk-outs on different days, zawya.com reported.

The new dates will add to fears for the safe running of Britain’s healthcare service on Feb. 6, when other health-related unions including the Royal College of Nursing are also staging industrial action.

Britain has been hit by a wave of strike action over the last six months, its worst in a generation, with walk-outs by rail workers, teachers and postal staff demanding higher wages as inflation surges.

Unite, which also said it was balloting more ambulance staff in different parts of the country, said the government needed to negotiate over current pay if it wanted to end the industrial action.

“The government’s constant attempts to kick the can down the road and its talk about one off payments, or slightly increased pay awards in the future, is simply not sufficient to resolve this dispute,” Unite lead officer Onay Kasab said in a statement on Friday.

Members from a different union, the GMB, which represents ambulance and other healthcare workers including emergency care assistants, are already planning strikes on Feb. 6, Feb. 20, March 6 and March 20.

Britain’s Department of Health and Social Care said in an emailed statement it was disappointed by news of further strikes, adding discussions with unions over pay for the 2023-4 period were “constructive”.

“Ambulance workers do an incredible job and it is disappointing some union members are going ahead with further strikes at a time when the NHS is already under huge pressure from COVID, flu and tackling the backlog,” said a spokesperson.