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Planned strike by GMB ambulance workers on December 28 suspended


planned post-Christmas strike by ambulance workers in the GMBunion has been suspended after “amazing” public support for industrial action this week, it has been announced.

Members of the union were due to walk out on December 28 in an increasingly bitter dispute over pay and staffing.

The GMB said there was “incredible” support during industrial action by the union and members of Unite and Unison on Wednesday.

A spokesman said: “The NHS is on its knees and the public are suffering every day because the Government has failed to properly resource and plan for our health service.

“Nowhere is this clearer than in the appalling delays experienced in getting an ambulance and then getting into A&E.

“Solving such problems starts with getting enough people to work in the NHS.

“Unless the Government starts to talk pay now, the problems will get worse with every passing day.”

Rachel Harrison, GMB national secretary added: “We are overwhelmed by Wednesday’s amazing public support for our paramedics and ambulance staff.

“People across the country have been wonderful in backing us and we care so much about them too.

“That’s why we are suspending the proposed GMB industrial action on December 28.

“We know the public will appreciate being able to enjoy Christmas without any additional anxiety. They support us and we support them.”

She added: “The workforce crisis in our NHS is so severe and our commitment to getting ambulance staff the proper pay they deserve is stronger than ever, so we are scheduling a further date for action on January 11.

“The incredible British public are why we are suspending our action over the Christmas period.

“But it also means the Government can now do what ambulance workers and the public want – get round the table and talk pay now.

“We are here 24/7. Any time, any place.”

Rishi Sunak, meanwhile, has said he is “sad” and “disappointed” about widespread strike action, but he insisted refusing to negotiate on public sector pay is the “right thing” in the long term.

The Prime Minister defended the Government on Friday as acting “fairly and reasonably” on the “difficult question”, but insisted he cannot budge or risk stoking inflation.

His refusals to give increased pay offers mean there is little chance of industrial disputes ending, with border staff the latest to walk out and nurses announcing fresh and escalated action.

Mr Sunak said: “I am really sad and I am disappointed about the disruption that is being caused to so, so many people’s lives, particularly at Christmas time.”

But speaking to broadcasters during a visit to a homeless shelter in London, he insisted he has “acted fairly and reasonably” in accepting public sector pay recommendations.

“I want to make sure we reduce inflation, part of that is being responsible when it comes to setting public sector pay,” he added.

“In the long term it’s the right thing for the whole country that we beat inflation.”

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