NHS strikes to go ahead after union meeting with health
secretary Steve Barclay breaks down.
During a brief meeting on Monday, Steve Barclay was unable to
prevent further walkouts by ambulance workers and auxiliary NHS staff.
Union leaders were outraged by the meeting, which was seen as a
breakthrough in relations after the government initially stated that it would
not discuss pay with unions.
Onay Kasab, Unite’s national lead, said the government
“only wanted to talk about productivity” and that there had been no
detailed discussion about a pay settlement as he confirmed ambulance workers’
strikes would take place on January 23.
“Productivity when our team members work 18-hour shifts!
I’m not sure how you become more productive “He stated.
“I’m furious on behalf of our members.”
Mr. Kasab went on to say that it was “absolutely
ludicrous” and “outrageous” that the government only wanted to
talk about NHS workers being more productive in exchange for a pay raise.
“It’s an affront,” he said.
According to the GMB union, no cash offer was made, and no
“concrete” offer on pay for the next fiscal year, which begins in
April, was made.
A spokesman confirmed that strikes by ambulance workers will
take place on Wednesday.
According to Sara Gorten, head of health at Unison, ambulance
workers who are members will strike on both Wednesday and January 23.
She claimed that although the government had made no
“tangible” offers and Mr. Barclay had made it “very, very
clear” that he was aware that workers wanted pay increases for the
upcoming year, she is “not sure it goes beyond that.”
Ms. Gorten stated that it was good to meet with the health
secretary and that the atmosphere was “positive,” adding that she
believes the unions have effectively communicated their position.
According to her statement to Sky News, “but for us to call
the strikes off will require a firm commitment that the Treasury will fix pay
for this year as well as next.”