UNISON members in West Midlands Ambulance Service were asked if they were prepared to take part in strike action, and if they were prepared to take part in action short of a strike. In order for industrial action to be lawful, at least 50% of eligible members have to vote in the ballot. The results in West Midlands Ambulance Service were as follows:

'Are you prepared to take part in strike action?'

62.45% of members voted in the ballot.

88.40% of members voted YES to taking action up to and including strike action.

Therefore, in West Midlands Ambulance Service there is a mandate for lawful industrial action. We can begin the process of planning a strike and other forms of action.

This is an incredible result and my heartfelt thanks go to everyone who made it happen. I know you will have questions about what happens next. Thanks in advance for your patience - we are urgently beginning the process of planning action. 

To do this your branch has a number of important things to work through so we can answer your questions fully. We'll be in touch again very shortly.

In the meantime, there are a couple of important things you need to know.

Keep yourself safe: Take no action until you receive instruction from your branch. We are experienced at planning and delivering effective industrial action but in order to best protect you at work there are some things your branch need to do before they can let you know the dates and type of industrial action.

Know your rights: your employer has no right to ask you whether you are a union member, how you voted in the ballot, or whether you intend to take strike action. Your branch will handle all the paperwork that is needed, you do not need to do anything yourself, nor should your manager ask you to volunteer that kind of information. Employers will want to plan for industrial action, and UNISON will engage through formal channels, but you have no duty to answer questions.

And take a moment to reflect on an incredible result. The reality of the 2016 Trade Union Act means to even get to first base we have to get 50% of members to return their vote by post. This is a Conservative government law precisely designed to stop big, general unions like us from being able to take industrial action. Postal delays stopped a significant number of ballots getting back to us last time. But your patience and determination paid off: this time you got over the line!

It is clear that NHS staff will not put up with the pitiful 72p pay award by this government while the cost of living goes through the roof. Thanks to your work the union is now stronger than ever, and the campaign carries on.

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