London Ambulance Service strikers form picket line in New Malden

Trade union Unison held a strike next to New Malden Ambulance Station on Wednesday over pay and staffing.

Ambulance personnel and control room dispatchers (all members of the London Ambulance Service) took part in the scheduled strike from 11am-11pm on the side of the A2043, at the junction of Wellington Crescent.

Around 20 people stood at the picket line and, throughout the day, between 35 to 40 people joined the strike. 

The strike was held due to the ongoing pay dispute with the government, with its refusal to increase pay above inflation, despite mounting pressure on the NHS and the cost-of-living crisis.

An ambulance driver at the strike, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “We’re not just striking for our pay, we’re striking for better working conditions and better care for our patients.”

Following a meeting with the Health Secretary on Monday, Head of Health at Unison Sara Gorton said: “We didn’t get the tangible outcome we were hoping for.” She confirmed that the Unison strike on Wednesday would proceed.

Union ambulance personnel who were meant to be on duty were instead at the picket line. However, they were still responding to life-threatening and limb emergencies.

Ambulance workers were only paid if they left the line to respond to these emergencies, but stopped getting paid as soon as they returned to the picket line. 

Unison is predominantly made up of public service workers. There were various pickets lines held all across London that were formed near ambulance stations in these areas: New Malden, Putney, Waterloo, Greenwich, Bromley, Edmonton, Chase Farm, Romford, Brent, Friern Barnet, Kenton, Camden, Islington, Newham, West Ham, Homerton, Hillingdon, Hanwell, Isleworth, Fulham, New Addington, and St. Helier. 

Three more strike days are planned to be held if a pay issues are not resolved. These dates are: 23rd January, 10th February, 22nd February.

The General Secretary of Unison, Christina McAnea, tweeted saying that the union are ready to settle the dispute whenever the government will agree:

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