London Ambulance Service staff are seen holding placards during the last strike outside their base at Waterloo in London (Picture: Getty)
NHS walkouts will go ahead this week after a union branded its meeting with health secretary Steve Barclay an ‘insult’.
Ministers were told by Rishi Sunak to sit down with health, rail and education unions yesterday in a fresh bid to avert a wave of public sector strikes.
But ambulance workers will strike on Wednesday and January 19, and nurses on January 18 and 19, with no resolution in sight.
‘Today’s meeting was bitterly disappointing,’ said Joanne Galbraith-Marten of the Royal College of Nursing. And Unite official Onay Kasab said he was ‘extremely angry’ after claiming Mr Barclay wanted greater productivity from paramedics.
‘We’re talking about people working well beyond their contracted hours,’ he told reporters.
Rail minister Huw Merriman arrives for a meeting with members of the rail unions yesterday (Picture: PA)
Ministers have insisted unions accept pay review board recommendations for below-inflation rises this year. However, Mr Sunak did not rule out one-off payments to boost this year’s offer. ‘The most important thing is that people are talking,’ the prime minister said.
Education secretary Gillian Keegan’s meeting with teacher unions in an attempt bid to avoid possible strike action in schools also broke up without agreement.
Meanwhile, transport minister Huw Merriman described his talks with union leaders as constructive, adding that negotiating parties ‘should now resume intensive talks to find a resolution’. The RMT’s Mick Lynch said further talks would be held but Aslef boss Mick Whelan shrugged as he left.
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Ambulance workers will strike on Wednesday and January 19.