All UNISON members employed in the NHS were all recently balloted for industrial action in a dispute over pay, following the below inflation pay award.

At the West Midlands Ambulance Service, there was a huge strength of feeling from members, with 88.7% of the members who voted voting in favour of strike action. The turnout was higher than at any other West Midlands NHS employer.

However, in order to take legal industrial, the turnout has to be over 50%.

49.6% members employed by West Midlands Ambulance Service voted in the ballot - just a handful of members short.

What: A re-ballot will take place

A decision by UNISON’s Health Service Group Executive has been made to re-ballot West Midlands Ambulance Service members. Other Ambulance Services were also very close to the 50% threshold and will be re-balloted: Welsh, South Central, East of England, East Midlands and South East Coast Ambulance Services, in addition to some Hospital Trusts which were also close to threshold.


When: 6 January – 16 February 2023

One issue that had an impact on the ballot results was the postal strikes and delays. Members have let us know that they did not receive a ballot on time. Therefore, due to the six days of CWU postal strikes and three bank holidays over the Christmas period, the re-ballot will start early January to try and avoid delays as much as is possible and will run for two weeks longer than the first. We appreciate many members would like to re-ballot sooner but we are keen to not face more ballot delays and postal issues over the Christmas period.


How: A postal ballot – please return yours when you receive it.

It will be another postal ballot. It has to be by law. The law is created to try and make industrial action as difficult to take as possible. Elections of the leaders of the major political parties can take place online – but trade union industrial action ballots have to be done by post. MPs can be elected on any turnout. But for strike action to take place a minimum of 50% turnout.

What can you do now?

Check your membership details are up to date. Many ballots were sent to previous home addresses first time around, and the postal delays meant some members who updated their address during the ballot period did not receive a paper in time. Please update your details online here now: My UNISON | UNISON National

Let us know if you are retiring or going on maternity leave between March – September 2023. You may be exempt from the ballot. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you may not be in work between March – September 2023.


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