‘Stop ghosting us on pay’, say UNISON Eastern

As re-balloted staff at nine NHS employers pass the thresholds required to take industrial action in the pay dispute, Eastern health committee make their feelings clear

UNISON has announced that over 12,000 staff at ambulance services and NHS trusts in England will be joining the ongoing NHS pay dispute after a re-ballot.

Members at four ambulance services and five NHS trusts have voted to take industrial action, in a significant escalation of the dispute, after having fallen just short of the industrial action threshold in the first instance.

One of the services which was re-balloted and has now passed the legal threshold to take industrial action was East of England Ambulance.

Glen Carrington, UNISON member and ambulance paramedic, holds placards saying: "stop ghosting us on pay" and "Put NHS Pay Right"

Glenn Carrington (pictured above), an ambulance paramedic and UNISON branch chair for East of England Ambulance service, spoke of his feelings about the re-ballot result.

“I’m really upset that it’s come to this,” he says. “We’re caring people, we don’t do these jobs to go on strike, we do these jobs to help people.

“The reason we’re going on strike – yes, it’s about pay – but it’s also about conditions. The fundamental thing is that we cannot do the job that we love, and that we’re paid for.

“I feel sad we’ve been put in this position, but how do you communicate your frustration with someone who isn’t listening? Shame on the government for not listening to us, shame on the government for not talking to us and – more to the point – shame on the government for putting us in this position.”

As yet, the Westminster government still hasn’t committed to talks with UNISON and other health unions, and further industrial action is being planned over the coming months.

Joyce Aldridge, head of UNISON Eastern's health committee,holds a placard saying: "stop ghosting us on pay"

UNISON Eastern health committee chair Joyce Aldridge (above) added: “You can’t just ignore us, you’ve said how wonderful and valued we are, yet you don’t want to put your hands in your pockets for us. People are struggling out there, they can’t afford to pay bills, they’re making choices between heating or food, food banks are rife. Something has to be done about it.

“Rishi Sunak and Steven Barclay need to understand they have to ‘put NHS pay right’. If you invest in the NHS, you enable recruitment, retention and it lifts the burden on those still working in the health service.”

The Eastern health committee made its feelings about the situation very clear by sending a message to health secretary Steve Barclay, saying: “Stop ghosting us on pay.”

A person in a Steve Barclay mask is surrounded by people dressed as ghosts.