AMBULANCE crews in Wales are set to strike later this month after voting overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action.
Unite, the union which represents more than 1,000 members in the Welsh Ambulance Service, has announced two 24-hour strikes are set for Thursday, January 19, and Monday, January 23.
Unite members voted by a margin of 88 per cent to strike over the below-inflation pay offer, which it says has resulted in an exodus of staff.
As is usual in these circumstances, Unite will agree emergency ‘life and limb’ cover provisions with the trust.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite will stand 100 per cent behind our Welsh Ambulance members who are striking to save our NHS.
“They see first-hand every day how the NHS is collapsing.
“A decent pay increases is the only way to improve NHS recruitment and relieve the crippling pressure on ambulance services.
“The roots of this dispute may be in Westminster, but the Welsh Government needs to move to improve its pay offer if we are to avoid a prolonged dispute.
“This union stands ready for serious negotiations with governments in all nations, Wales included.
“We now urgently need action to address the NHS pay and staffing crisis.”
Unite Wales regional officer Richard Munn said: “The anger that has led to this strike is about more than just pay.
“Staff are exhausted and stressed and the meagre pay increase was the final straw for most.
“We know that the Welsh Government has limited finances but Unite is imploring them to come to the table with an increased offer, as was the case in Scotland.
“Unite recognises that the crisis has arisen because of the Westminster government’s deliberate failure to fund a decent NHS pay rise across the UK.
“While the UK government seems oblivious to the anger and frustration of NHS workers, the Welsh Government has shown that it does understand the issues. But now it needs to act.”