“That is absolutely ludicrous. This isn’t a factory we’re talking about, we’re talking about people who are working well beyond their contracted hours anyway”
Unite has slammed the government’s ‘outrageous’ position during strike talks, after the union was told to find further ‘productivity savings’ on what was supposed to be a discussion over pay.
With talks collapsing, it means further NHS strikes will now go ahead, with ambulance workers set to go on strikes across England this Wednesday, and again on January 23.
Onay Kasab, the lead negotiator for Unite, hit out at ministers after they demanded “productivity” savings from their members, who he says are already ‘working 18 hour shifts’.
Following the meeting with Health Secretary Steve Barclay he said: “All the government are interested in is saying that in order to justify a payment we need to … come up with productivity in the NHS.
“That is absolutely ludicrous. This isn’t a factory we’re talking about, we’re talking about people who are working well beyond their contracted hours anyway just to get the job done because … they care so much.
“So, for the government to be talking about productivity in exchange for a (payment) is an insult to every single one of our members.”
He added: “The government have missed yet another opportunity to put this right.
“We came here in good faith, what they want to talk about is productivity. Productivity when our members are working 18 hour shifts, quite how you become more productive with that I do not know.
“Today unfortunately, despite us showing up in good faith, the government have missed yet another opportunity to put this right and what will happen is that the strike action taking place by Unite members, our ambulance workers, and I think it’s important to remember this is about across the NHS this isn’t just nurses. Everybody who works across the NHS is just as important.”
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward
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