The government are considering a wide range of possibilities to try and ease strike action over the Christmas period as tens of thousands of workers from various sectors have voted for industrial action.
The Tory Party Chairman Nadhim Zahawi confirmed on Sunday that they are considering to deploy around 2,000 military personnel who could be “driving ambulances” this month.
Speaking to Sky News’ Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme Zahawi said that the military could also be working on the UK’s borders.
He added, that pharmacies could be called on to help the NHS as they are preparing to strike later this month.
He said, “we have to be able to deliver safe levels of treatment and support to patients”.
“We’ve got to try and minimise disruption.”
He added, “It is the right and responsible thing to do to have contingency plans in place.
“We have a very strong team at Cobra (civil contingencies committee) who are doing a lot of the work in looking at what we need to do to minimise the disruption to people’s lives.”
He continued, “this is not a time to strike.”
“If you chase inflation or above inflation, in some cases pay, then you will embed inflation for longer and hurt the most vulnerable,” he said.
“In fact, our message to the unions is to say, you know, this is not a time to strike. This is time to try and negotiate.
“In the absence of that, it’s important for the government. It’s the right and responsible thing to do, to have contingency plans in place.”
Adding, “We’re looking at the military, we’re looking at a specialist response force… surge capacity.”
The Cabinet Office said, “Decisions are yet to be taken on deploying troops to these tasks but they are part of the range of options available should strike action in these areas go ahead as planned.
“The priority over the coming weeks is to protect the public who may need access to emergency services support and limit disruption as much as possible, particularly at a time when increased numbers of people will be travelling for the festive period and NHS services are under huge pressure due to the impact of Covid.”
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