Thousands of ambulance workers in England and Wales will stop working on Wednesday as part of their protest for a pay rise amid a dire situation in the country with inflation at a high level.
The strike will put pressure on a state-funded health service, coming a day after nurses walked out from their work as hospital directors saying that doing so will put risk on patients.
Steve Barclay, the Health and Social Care Secretary said that the National Health Service (NHS) would prioritize life-threatening needs.
General trade group in the United Kingdom GMB Union said that since 2010, pay in the health service has fallen 17% in real terms, which is the opposite from a 77% rise in demand for ambulances in the same period.
“We have tried everything to raise pay, the issue that is causing this dispute, but the government will not listen and will not talk, ” Rachel Harrison, the union’s national secretary said on Wednesday.
According to the government, an independent pay review body awarded more than one million NHS workers with a pay rise of at least 4% for most ambulance staff. However, the union requested for an increase above the inflation rate that remains at 10.7% in November.
In their absence, a military army has been put on a standby to take workers’ place to drive ambulances but will not have all powers that regular ambulance drivers have such as providing clinical care.