Ambulance workers in the West Midlands were set to start industrial action short of a strike over pay and conditions from Thursday of this week.
The workers are in the Unison, GMB and T&G unions as well as the Association of Professional Ambulance Personnel. A series of two-hour strikes by the workers has been called off in order to ballot on a new offer.
The technicians and paramedics have been hit by the Agenda for Change pay and conditions deal.
The national deal, which it was claimed would see ambulance workers’ pay rise, has been interpreted differently by different trusts.
Many ambulance workers have been shifted onto pay bands with lower rates of pay than they currently expect.
They will require “pay protection”, marking time on their existing rate, but without pay rises reflecting increased costs of living.
Workers across the service told Socialist Worker they believe that there is a process of deskilling going on.
The bulk of ambulance staff are being reduced to low skilled, low paid roles.
The offer in the West Midlands would see many ambulance staff go onto the pay bands the union initially demanded. But concessions have been made over the level of training new workers would require to reach those bands.
There is also continuing anger in north east England, where ambulance workers are continuing to refuse to answer emergency calls during meal breaks because managers have failed to agree terms acceptable to workers.