Dear Member

Our second attempt at getting a mandate for industrial action in West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust is underway. 

Tomorrow, Friday 16 December, we will send notice of intention to ballot to your employer, formally beginning the ballot process. 

And next week, the first round of strike action will take place in a number of NHS employers around the country.

  • This week – we hand in ballot notices to your employer 
  • Next week - First round of action in other employers takes place 
  • Over Christmas – we prepare ballot lists ready for dispatch 
  • From 6 January – ballots are posted 

In November we almost hit the majority turnout needed for industrial action in West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust – it was very close and we think postal delays contributed to missing the target. We think West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Trust stands a good chance of meeting the target if we go again – this time allowing longer for post to get through. 

It's frustrating, I appreciate, to do this all over again. But the result was close enough that we think there is a real majority of support for industrial action among UNISON members in your employer and that, had there not been postal delays, that majority would have been reflected in the result. We want to give you every opportunity to meet the threshold and join the thousands of UNISON members in the NHS already planning strike action. 

We really want this to work. We know you will be keen to get going but we want to avoid as many problems as possible. That means we will not send ballot papers until 6 January. We want to avoid adding to the significant strain faced by postal workers over Christmas, whilst also giving members a couple of final weeks to make sure their postal address and mobile phone number is up to date. 

Whether or not you voted in the previous ballot over pay, you must return your vote this time. 

Ballot details 
The ballot opens on 6 January and closes on 16 February so you need to ensure that you get your ballot paper in the post in good time. Your vote must be received by the deadline to count so look out for your blue envelope and post your ballot paper back as quickly as possible.

We need your help in getting all our members to vote too. As we know from last time, unless 50% of your colleagues VOTE YES for the NHS you will not be able to take industrial action. This is because of the law on ballot thresholds. 

Without a high turnout we run the risk of members not being allowed to take the action they voted for. NHS staff lose and the Government wins. We can’t let that happen. 

Because a miserly award of just 72 pence an hour is not enough to help staff, not enough to prevent staff leaving, and not enough to attract new recruits. It worsens the staffing crisis that is so damaging for patients and staff. 

Kind regards,
Sara Gorton
UNISON head of health

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