Nurses report for work while other colleagues join walk out
AMBULANCE workers serving Tunbridge Wells walked out on Monday as local teachers prepared for their second strike next month. Both are looking for improved pay and conditions.
However, NHS nurses at the hospital in Pembury carried on as normal, unlike their colleagues in other parts of the country who supported action. Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust (MTW) confirmed that their nurses are not striking after they voted not to take part in any industrial action.
Conversely, 3,500 ambulance workers from southern ambulance services went on strike on Monday (February 6) along with nurses around the country as part of the biggest health strike in NHS history.
GMB union members from South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) voted in favour of industrial action and walked out on Monday from 12pm to 2am on Tuesday (February 7) morning.
Workers staged picket lines outside ambulance centres across Kent, including Paddock Wood Make Ready Centre, Eldon Way following previous demonstrations on January 11 and 23.
Ambulance staff were offered a four per cent pay rise by the government – an additional £1,400 per worker – but the union rejected this and is demanding a pay rise closer to the rate of inflation, which is currently at 10.5 per cent.
Workers are ‘furious’ with the government’s pay offer after the events of the Covid-19 pandemic and the queues of ambulances outside of A&E departments over Christmas.
More ambulance strikes are scheduled for SECAmb staff on February 20, March 6 and 20 by the GMB Union.
Meanwhile, teachers are also getting ready to walk out again on March 2, 15 and 16 and the action is expected to impact more than 7,000 students from primary and secondary schools across Tunbridge Wells.