Today’s strikes across the NHS are not taken lightly, and not celebrated, but the government must take serious heed.
UNISON members at two Liverpool hospitals walked out at 7.30am and ambulance road crews across five trusts will start their strike action at 12 noon, as part of our dispute over pay and staffing.
Much planning has gone into contingency arrangements that have been agreed through negotiations with local employers and NHS staff. The same staff who have put so much hard work into patient care over many, many years.
Brave NHS staff who cared for the country in the pandemic are now taking this difficult industrial action to draw attention to the deep crisis in the NHS.
I, and all those involved in the action, expect it to be a difficult day. We are prepared for the government to play the blame game, rather than constructively negotiate with us. But we are not prepared to give up on our aims of improving pay, staffing, and ultimately, patient care.
I’ll be visiting picket lines across London today, to support our members, and my message to all the strikers today is this:
The current state of the NHS, and the resulting industrial action, is not your fault. Any blame from the government today, is a deflection away from taking responsibility for their own actions over the last 12 years.
Not only have they failed to provide the public with a safe, reliable, and first-class health service, they have managed its decline. Not only have they dug a very big hole by refusing to talk about pay, but they’ve also proven they’re incapable of any kind of decent and constructive industrial relations.
But right now, please remember that our action is lawful and right. Stay strong today, and for the rest of this dispute. We have no choice but to carry on, because the future of the NHS depends on all of us fighting for it.
I’ve been receiving messages of support from individuals, and organisations, who can see the damage the government is doing to the NHS and they’re behind us in taking this action today. I genuinely believe most of the public are behind us too.
The article Blog: A message to ambulance strikers on a difficult day first appeared on the UNISON National site.