Overtime ban and work to rule as Scottish ambulance staff reveal industrial action

Ambulance staff have ramped up the pressure on Scotland’s Health Secretary in their fight for higher wages, and warned that if their demands are not met workers will walk out.

Unite said its 1,500 members in the Scottish Ambulance Service will work to rule from November 25, meaning a ban on overtime, only working their contracted hours, and taking their breaks on schedule.

Sharon Graham, the union’s general secretary, demanded that the Scottish Government gets back around the negotiating table and warned there would be an escalation if it did not.

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“The action short of strike we have announced is designed to prevent all-out strike action but make no mistake about this, if there is no new improved offer then this is exactly what will happen, and the Scottish Government will be to blame,” she said.

Ambulance staff are to begin industrial action later this month
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Her union also said on Friday it was considering co-ordinated strike action with other NHS trade unions if the initial action did not bring Health Secretary Humza Yousaf back to the negotiating table with an improved pay offer.

It is the latest threat of industrial action to rock Scotland, with nurses set to strike for the first time and teachers expected to walk out, both in protest over what they consider falling wages as inflation runs riot.

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Jamie McNamee, Unite’s Scottish Ambulance Service convenor, said the union’s objective was to “highlight patient and staff safety along with the ongoing concerns we have over the poor quality of care due to years of underinvestment and cuts”.

The union said the measures were not designed to impact on responses to emergency incidents, and workers involved would include paramedics, advanced practitioners, and clerical staff.

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Earlier this month health workers rejected the latest offer made by NHS Scotland, which represented a 7% rise for health staff on average.

But Mr McNamee criticised the offer as “insufficient and unacceptable” and added that “in real terms it represents a significant pay cut”.

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“The present situation is directly contributing to the NHS losing senior staff due to being overworked and poorly paid,” he said.

“Our NHS workers deserve better from the Scottish Government and now they have a final opportunity to make a fair pay offer before this pay dispute dramatically escalates.”

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