GMB Ambulance union News Nov 2019

GMB Ambulance trade union news November 2019


8 November 2019



The GMB, the Union of choice for Ambulance Service Staff, was the only trade union to reject the NHS Pay Award. We are now 18 months into the pay award and we want to hear from you regarding your experiences since its implementation.

The key objectives of the pay award were:

  •  Increase recruitment and retention of staff.
  •  Put appraisals and personal development at the heart of pay progression so staff can develop skills and competencies and be rewarded for it and to enhance relationships between line managers and staff.
  •  Provide the opportunities and support for Band 1 staff to transfer to Band 2.
  •  Reduce the variation in the approach to payment schemes for unsocial hours.
  •  Support the growing use of Apprentices and the development of apprenticeship routes to healthcare careers.
  •  Consistency of Bank and Agency working.
  •  Improve the health and wellbeing of staff and improve levels of attendance.
  •  Introduce local mechanisms to guarantee access to annual leave and time off in lieu which are already set out in the Agenda for Change Terms and Conditions Handbook.
  •  Give consistent access to Child Bereavement Leave and Enhanced Shared Parental Leave.
  •  Develop a national framework for the buying and selling of annual leave.


Update on implementation of the pay award:

  •  The pay progression system has been agreed and came into effect on 1st April 2019 for new starters and those promoted into new roles on or after 1st April 2019. For all staff in post prior to 1st April 2019, current organisational pay progression procedures apply until 31st March 2021, after which time they too will be subject to the new provisions.
  •  The arrangements for transferring staff from Band 1 to Band 2 have been agreed as well as supporting staff who wish to remain in Band 1.
  •  A new provision in the Agenda for Change Terms and Conditions Handbook to open up Section 2 (maintaining round the clock services) Unsocial Hours Payments to all Ambulance Staff. This applies to all new entrants to the ambulance service in England from 1st September 2018 and those changing roles. Existing staff may choose to move voluntarily to Section 2.
  •  Section 14 (Sickness Absence) Paragraph 4 of the Agenda for Change Terms and Conditions Handbook has been adjusted to convert eligibility for the payment of unsocial hours during sick leave to a cash value of £18,160. New entrants appointed from 1st July 2018 will not have access to the payment of unsocial hours during sick leave.
  •  We have been unable to reach agreement on Apprenticeship Pay.
  •  Work is due to start shortly on Bank and Agency working.
  •  Work is due to start shortly on the access to annual leave and time off in lieu.
  •  New Child Bereavement Leave and Enhanced Shared Parental Leave entitlements have been included in the Agenda for Change Terms and Conditions Handbook.
  •  We have been unable to reach agreement on a national framework for the buying and selling of annual leave.

(Some of the above may vary in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).

As a GMB member working in the Ambulance Service we want to hear what your experiences of the pay award to date have been. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey below and have your voice heard. Some evidence from this survey will be used in the next GMB submission to the NHS Pay Review Body.

You can complete this survey online at 2019

Please complete the survey by no later than Friday 6th December 2019



Freedom to Speak Up Guardians

NHS Improvement states that “Effective speaking up arrangements help to protect patients and improve the experience of workers.”

The Interim People Plan sets out a vision for people who work for the NHS to enable them to deliver the best care possible. Boards have been encouraged to create a culture where workers feel safe and able to speak up about anything that gets in the way of delivering safe, high quality care or affect their experience in the workplace. Issues to speak up on are patient safety, quality of care and bullying and harassment.

Most NHS Trusts and Ambulance Services have appointed Freedom to Speak up Guardians so that staff have someone to speak up to.

GMB Representatives

Ask 4 in GMB’s 5 Keys Asks for the NHS Campaign is about challenging the culture within the NHS to tackle bullying, increase staff morale and improve mental health. Therefore, we welcome any changes made to address these issues and are pleased to see the culture of the NHS central to a lot of work being done in the NHS People Plan.

However, it is essential that your GMB representative is also aware of your issues and concerns. By speaking to the Freedom to Speak Up Guardian and not including your GMB representative in the conversations prevents us from being able to tackle the wider workplace issues that may be connected to this.

GMB advises all of our members to Speak Up to your GMB Representative.

Report all issues to your local GMB Representative so that we can support you.


Moving to section 2, an early Xmas present from the Trust?

NQPs will by now have realised just how much the move to section 2 has cost them. This is because they will have to work what is effectively a month in hand and then wait a further month to get paid USH previously worked.

It didn’t have to be that way as the national agreement (which the GMB rejected) states that the scheme can be retrospective or prospective but it will be for local agreement.

NWAS did not speak to the staff side over this but made a unilateral decision that it would be retrospective. By doing so they have effectively deprived those staff they have moved onto section 2 of up to £1000 during the months of Nov and Dec.

This move comes after staff, that finished their paramedic course recently, being told that they would be able to stay on Annex 5. We were told the same at least three meetings that this would be the case.

Something changed and the Trust decided that anyone starting in year 2 of the program after 1st Sept 2018 would be put on section 2.

A number of individual grievances have been raised but the branch is now considering a collective grievance on behalf of our members given the scale of financial loss they are suffering. Therefore if you are one of those staff who are affected and a member of the GMB please forward your name and membership number to

Another issue with section 2 appears to be the way USH payments are made during annual leave. The rules are you should receive what you would have got if you were in work. However, staff are only receiving an average of what they would have received again meaning a loss of pay.

This is something that has been raised nationally and may be an issue with ESR but if this affects you please get in touch by the above email.



NHS England & Improvement are once again encouraging all health care staff with direct patient contact to have the flu vaccination.

The GMB supports NHS England & NHS Improvement in that our members should be vaccinated in order to reduce the risks of spreading infections to the people they care for, as well as protecting themselves. Vaccinations are just one way to reduce the impact of flu on the NHS. However, we fully support our members’ choice on this issue and would never agree to it becoming mandatory.

NHS Chief Executives should be working in partnership with your GMB trade union representatives to develop and agree a workplace flu vaccination strategy. As a GMB member, your reps will be working to ensure you get the appropriate advice, support and protection that you need.

All NHS staff have a right to make their own choice about whether or not to be vaccinated, without fear of being pressurised or bullied. Staff should be protected from any detriment as a result of refusing to be vaccinated.

GMB members with concerns about any of the above should speak immediately with your local GMB Rep.



The NHS Long Term Plan was published without any credible plan on how to address workforce issues. The People Plan is now being prepared for publication and NHS Staff are being encouraged to participate. The Department of Health have committed to making the NHS the best place to work and you are being given the opportunity to have your say.

NHS staff have endured almost a decade of funding cuts, austerity and real terms pay cuts. Many GMB members were left feeling disappointed and undervalued by the recent 3 year pay deal. Loyal and hardworking staff have been left to keep our NHS running despite increased pressures.


In a survey of GMB members working in the NHS, it was evident that a lot more needed to be done to ensure our NHS can strive to be the best place to work.

  •  92% of members raised pay as a main concern and reason for why they are being forced to leave the NHS.
  •  80% of members raised staff morale and 35% raised bullying as an issue.
  •  78% were concerned about staffing levels and 48% expressed they didn’t have sufficient time to care for patients.
  •  45% were concerned about privatisation of the NHS.
  •  28% continued to be concerned about violence, assault and abuse.


This is why GMB is calling for:

1. More FUNDING for staff pay and services.

2. Let’s get serious about STAFFING LEVELS

3. Protecting all staff from VIOLENCE, assaults and abuse at work.

4. Challenging the CULTURE to address bullying, staff morale and mental health.

5. Oppose PRIVATISATION of our NHS.


The GMB is also campaigning for:

  •  All NHS Trusts & Ambulance Services to sign up to the TUC Dying to Work Charter.
  •  All Ambulance Service Trusts to adopt the GMB Violence Charter.


The GMB is encouraging our members to engage in the Department of Health Consultation and take a few minutes to let them know what will make the NHS the best place to work for you. This is your opportunity to raise some of the issues above that are relevant to you, as well as making suggestions of your own. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to have your say. You can do so at:

GMB North West & Irish Region