UNISON to suspend strike to enter pay talks with government

The strike planned for next Wednesday involving thousands of ambulance staff and other NHS workers has been suspended to allow UNISON to enter pay talks with the government, the union said today (Friday).  

Following a meeting of its health committee this afternoon, UNISON announced it was suspending the action scheduled for 8 March.   

The decision was taken after the Department of Health and Social Care confirmed there would be additional investment in pay for both this year (2022/23) and next (2023/24).   

UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said: “Unions said all along they could pause strikes if ministers would only commit to formal talks to boost pay for this year.  

“The government has finally promised extra investment in pay for both years.  

“The sad thing is this could all have been handled so differently. Proper pay talks should have started months ago, long before the first strike was called. That would have avoided days of disruption for the NHS and its patients.

“Whether the talks signal the beginning of the end of the current dispute will emerge in the coming days. If a deal can be reached, strikes can end and everyone can work together again to ensure the NHS gets back on track.

“However, when unions get in the room, they’ll quickly learn whether the talks can be meaningful. If not, unions will be forced to resume strike action. Nobody wants that.” 

Both GMB and the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy have also suspended their action and will join the NHS staff council talks.