The government are to hold a COBRA meeting on Monday to discuss the ongoing strikes as 10 industry sectors have voted to walkout and there are plans that the military will now step in.
Military personnel are being trained should they be required to help at ports and airports as Border Force staff are to strike over pay and conditions.
Hospital trusts across the UK will also see members of the armed forces to drive ambulances for the scheduled ambulance strike on 23 December which will last for eight days.
Oliver Dowden will lead the COBRA meeting which will be attended by Defence, Home Office, Health and Transport Ministers, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster is urging unions to call off the “damaging strikes.”
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Dowden “The stance the unions have taken will cause disruption for millions of hardworking people over the coming weeks.
“The Government will do all it can to mitigate the impact of this action, but the only way to stop the disruption completely is for union bosses to get back round the table and call off these damaging strikes.”
On the weekend Transport Secretary Mark Harper wrote in The Telegraph that as a result of these strikes some families could be facing a “virtual Christmas” once again.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) offered at the last minute to “press pause” on the strikes if Steve Barclay entered negotiations, which was rejected.
Pat Cullen the head of the RCN said, “The Government is looking desperate and appears to be misleading the public.
“The Foreign Secretary is completely wrong to say this is a matter for the NHS and not ministers. The Government makes the decisions on pay for NHS staff. They must correct the record and start being honest.
“My offer of negotiations has not been accepted today – the Government is playing a dangerous game.”
The Unison’s union head of health Sara Gorton warned that without enough NHS employees “patients will go on waiting” for far too long for ambulances and treatment.
Gorton said, “The wage rise given to health workers this year simply hasn’t been enough to stop staff leaving in droves.
“Without enough employees in the NHS, patients will go on waiting too long for ambulances and for treatment to start.
“Instead of putting plans in place for the strike days, ministers should be concentrating all their efforts on ending the disputes.”
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