Uk

Military on stand-by to drive ambulances and firefight in event of strike action

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Military personnel could be drafted in to replace ambulance drivers and firefighters in the event of strike action, the Government has said.

Earlier in the week it was announced that 10,000 ambulance workers in England and Wales are set to walk out, whilst the Fire Brigade Union is balloting its members.

Around 2,000 military personnel, civil servants and other volunteers from across the Government have been preparing for such an event.

The Cabinet Office said they included up to 600 armed forces personnel and 700 staff from the Government’s specialist Surge and Rapid Response Team.

This Is Local London: Around 10,000 ambulance workers will go on strikeAround 10,000 ambulance workers will go on strike (Image: PA)

Additionally, personnel could come into ports and airports in the event of strike action by Border Force staff.

This preparatory action comes as many different unions strike in December, with the RMT set for several dates in mid-December and postal workers walking out on many dates in the build-up to Christmas.

What did the Conservative Party say about the strikes?

Conservative Party chairman Nadim Zahawi said ministers were determined to minimise disruption from industrial action in the weeks ahead.

He said he was “absolutely conscious” of the difficulties many workers were facing due to the cost of living crisis, but the country simply could not afford inflation or above-inflation pay awards.

Mr Zahawi claimed rising prices were being driven by higher energy costs to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and he appealed to unions for unity.


READ MOREMore than 10,000 ambulance workers have voted to strike over pay


He said: “This is not a time to be divided. We have to come together to, I hope, send a very clear message to Mr Putin that he can’t use energy as a weapon in this way.

“If you chase inflation or above-inflation pay then you will embed inflation for longer and hurt the most vulnerable. This is not a time to strike, this is a time to negotiate.

“To ask for a 19% pay rise (for nurses) which would cost the NHS £10 billion I think is the wrong thing to do right now.

“If you accept all the inflation-level pay rises, that is about £28 billion. It would cost every household just short of £1,000. That is unsustainable when we are trying to be fiscally disciplined.”



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