Ambulance trust in Peterborough confirms two strike dates in March

Striking workers will still attend serious emergencies when there is a “risk to life and limb.”
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The East of England Ambulance Service Trust has confirmed that its members will be on strike on two dates in March.

It has been confirmed that members of the GMB Union will walk out all day on Monday, March 6, while Unison members will strike between 10am and 10pm on Wednesday March 8 as unions continue to fight the government to secure an increased pay deal.

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This is the first time that strike action has taken place at EEAST in this round of industrial action, with both unions meeting the threshold on re-balloting members.

The ambulance service in Peterborough will strike in March.The ambulance service in Peterborough will strike in March.
The ambulance service in Peterborough will strike in March.

The trust has asked the public to stay safe on these dates and has been working closely with the unions to agree which incidents staff involved in industrial action will respond to.

GMB members taking industrial action on March 6 have agreed to attend category 1 calls and for calls for backup to attend patients with an immediately life- or-limb threatening conditions.

UNISON members will attend urgent life threatening ‘category 1’ calls from picket lines, as well as other incidents where there is a clinical assessment of a risk to ‘life and limb’.

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Yet, on the days of industrial action, there will be fewer ambulances on the road and staff in control rooms.

Members of the public have been asked to only call 999 if they are in a medical ‘life or limb’ threatening emergency, which is when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.

Where the situation is not life-threatening, alternative support will be available through 111 online. Patients may be advised to arrange alternative transport to hospital.

Tom Abell, Chief Executive at EEAST, said: “We understand the strength of feeling of our people who are taking industrial action around the national issue of pay and we have been working hard to make the service as safe as possible during the days of industrial action.

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“There has been lots of learning shared across ambulance services from previous days of industrial action which has helped shape our plans.

“We have been working closely with our unions to continue to do all we can to keep patients safe. However, we will have fewer ambulances out on the roads and fewer staff in our control rooms, and we would urge people to seek alternatives to calling 999 if possible, such as 111, GPs and pharmacies.

“If it is serious medical emergency, please do not hesitate to call 999.”

UNISON Eastern regional organiser Peter Passingham said: “Ambulance staff are taking action with a heavy heart, but years of falling pay and underfunding from national government have left us with no choice.

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“We're glad that we could work with EEAST to ensure that staff can continue to provide life-saving help to the public during industrial action. If the government took the same constructive approach to dialogue with trade unions as EEAST, it’s unlikely we would be forced to take industrial action.”