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Ambulance Dispute Over Sick Pay

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ambulance Service In England Face Industrial Action Caused By Employers Unlawfully Imposing Cuts In Sick Pay Of Up To 25%

Ambulance crews won’t put up with a draconian cut to their sick pay which could see them being forced to work while ill to avoid losing money says GMB.

GMB and other ambulance service unions at TUC congress today announced they are in dispute with the ambulance service in England and said their members were prepared to take industrial action. An emergency motion on the issue is due to be debated later at the Congress. See notes to editors for text of the motion.

The dispute arises because NHS Employers and all ambulance trusts in England have imposed cuts in sick pay of up to 25% without the agreement of unions or individual employees and without notice.

Rehana Azam , GMB National Officer, said “Despite months of negotiations the final proposals from the NHS Employers simply weren’t good enough and our members rejected them by over 90%.

Ambulance workers have had to put up with pay restraint and increasing workload and feel they are the pinch point in the NHS squeeze. They won’t put up with a draconian cut to their sick pay which could see them being forced to work while ill to avoid losing money.

Who wants an ambulance turning up at an emergency with the medics coughing and sneezing all over the place? It’s stupid.

Nearly all members also said they would be prepared to take industrial action to defend their sick pay and so we have registered formal industrial disputes with the NHS Employers and every ambulance trust.

We will also be challenging the legality of this imposition which we believe is wrong. Our members are very angry and although none of them want to put the public at risk they have been forced into a corner and the threat of industrial action looks inevitable if the employers don’t back down.”

End

Contact: Rehana Azam 07841 181 656 or Brian Strutton 07860 606 137 or GMB press office 07921 289880 or 07974 251823

Notes to editors

Text of emergency motion

Emergency Motion for TUC Congress 2013

Ambulance Service - NHS Employer Imposed Cuts to Sick Pay

The Ambulance Service unions call on the TUC to give its full backing to ambulance workers in England who are facing imposed cuts of up to 25% to their sick pay without agreement, and who are prepared to take strike action to defend their terms and conditions.

The GMB, alongside Unite and Unison, balloted their members on a proposal put forward by NHS employers to cut ambulance workers Unsocial Hours Allowance Sickness Entitlement. In the GMB consultation over 90% of ambulance workers rejected cuts to their sick pay with similar results in Unison and Unite.

Despite this NHS Employers told unions on 29 August they were proceeding and have imposed changes without notice and without agreement with effect from 1/9/2013. As a result of this imposition local and national disputes have been lodged with the ambulance service.

999 Ambulance workers are doing an incredible job looking after the public whilst government policy is crippling the NHS, and driving ambulance services to crisis point. GMB ambulance members have spoken loud and clear in this ballot; Ambulance workers refuse to see their colleagues, and ultimately the public, put at risk and we ask for TUC support in calling on NHS employers to withdraw their imposition and get back round the negotiating table. The prospect of industrial action is an inevitable reality should employers not withdraw their imposition.

from GMB, UNISON and UNITE

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