NHS strikes not just about pay, says union official

Banners and ambulance strikers

A union official believes that addressing the pay conditions for NHS employees may be essential to ending the strike.

Shift workers, according to ambulance technician Giles George, received up to 20% more in pay, which they lost if they had to take sick leave, for a period of six weeks.

According to Mr. George, a GMB representative in Knighton, Powys, eliminating that could "sway" employees who have already rejected a 3 percent offer.

The Welsh government stated that after other unions had time to consider the pay offer, it would decide the next course of action.

Colleagues from the union Unite, which is staging a three-day walkout, will join GMB ambulance staff on the picket line on Monday.

According to the GMB, 66 percent of its members voted against the offer for 2022–23, adding an additional 3 percent—of which 1 point 5 percent will be in pay each year—on top of the average 4 point 5 percent that was paid to health workers last autumn.

According to Mr. George, discussing changing some pay conditions was a topic of conversation with the government.

He said on BBC Radio Wales Breakfast, "It's unfair that if you fall ill through no fault of your own, you then lose some of your pay.".

Ambulance strikers and banners
While Unison employees are being polled on the pay offer on Monday, members of the GMB and Unite unions are on strike.

There have been some terms and conditions in place for 20 years, according to Mr. George, and it is time for a change.

Reducing the workweek to 36 hours, he claimed, was the subject of similar discussions in Scotland and "would definitely persuade" colleagues who had previously rejected the most recent Welsh government offer.

The Welsh government declared: "We believe the offer, equivalent to an additional 3 percent, is a strong one. One and a half percent of that increase will be in pay each year.

"This is in addition to the already-awarded 40.5 percent average pay increase for 2022–23.

Considering our current funding agreement, this is the best offer we can make.

"We have pooled all of the Welsh government's funding resources to make this improved offer in an effort to settle the dispute.

Before deciding on the next course of action, we will wait to hear the opinions of our colleagues from other health trade unions who are still debating this offer. ".

After failing to secure a mandate for strike action the prior year, Unison, a third ambulance workers' union in Wales, is re-balloting its membership.

The Welsh Ambulance Service's Sonia Thompson advised the public to "only call us in a life or limb-threatening emergency" while the workers were on strike from Monday to Wednesday.

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