Strike warning fired by union

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UNION bosses have fired a warning to health chiefs by saying that ambulance crews in Wigan borough won’t put up with a cut to their sick pay which could see them being forced to work while ill to avoid losing money.

The GMB and other ambulance service unions at TUC congress have announced they are in dispute with the ambulance service in England and said their members were prepared to take industrial action.

Earlier this month the GMB, Unison and Unite members working in Wigan’s ambulance services said they voted to reject proposals to apply up to 25 per cent deductions to sick pay.

Union chiefs say the proposals were put forward in June as a way of matching the changes made earlier this year to sick pay for other health workers, at a time when many NHS organisations are looking to cut staffing costs as a way of funding the Government’s cost saving programme in the health service. Rehana Azam , GMB National Officer, said: “Despite months of negotiations the final proposals from the NHS Employers simply weren’t good enough and our members rejected them by over 90 per cent.

“Ambulance workers have had to put up with pay restraint and increasing workload and feel they are the pinch point in the NHS squeeze. They won’t be forced to work while ill to avoid losing money.”