Further picket action not ruled out by health workers

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FURTHER walk-outs have not been ruled out by health workers.

Midwives, ambulance workers, porters and operating theatre staff were among those who staged an NHS strike yesterday morning.

protesters at QA hospital pic CREDIT Priya pic 2''Midwvies Lynda Mitchell, Vanessa Garlish and Lorna Eves, on the picket line outside Queen Alexandra Hospital.

protesters at QA hospital pic CREDIT Priya pic 2''Midwvies Lynda Mitchell, Vanessa Garlish and Lorna Eves, on the picket line outside Queen Alexandra Hospital.

For four hours members of unions GMB, Unison, and the Royal College of Midwifery set up picket lines in Portsmouth at St James’ Hospital in Locksway Road, Milton, St Mary’s Hospital in Milton Road, Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, and at the Gosport War Memorial Hospital. There was also a line outside the South Central Ambulance Service in Western Way, Portsmouth.

Nicola Nixon, regional co-ordinator for the GMB was outside QA, along with around 70 workers, who had formed a picket.

She said: ‘We do not take the decision to go on strike lightly, but we felt this is something we need to do.

‘A one per cent pay increase is not enough considering the rising cost of living.

protesters at QA hospital pic CREDIT Priya pic 1''Protesters outside Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham

protesters at QA hospital pic CREDIT Priya pic 1''Protesters outside Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham

‘We have made sure patient safety has not been put at risk, but it’s also important we make a stand against the pay offer.

‘For the next few days we will be working to rule, and after that we can’t rule out another walk-out.’

Chants of ‘What do we want? Fair pay. When do we want it? Now’ were heard outside QA.

Craig Dodd, who works as a porter at the hospital, said: ‘The government have given themselves an 11 per cent pay rise, we’re asking for one per cent. We save lives here, while politicians ruin them.

protesters at QA hospital pic CREDIT Priya pic 3''Workers from South Central Ambulance Service on strike outside the Resource Centre in Portsmouth.

protesters at QA hospital pic CREDIT Priya pic 3''Workers from South Central Ambulance Service on strike outside the Resource Centre in Portsmouth.

‘We’re standing up for what we believe in.’

Midwives were on strike – the first time in the RCM’s 133-year history.

Vanessa Garlish, health and safety representative for the Portsmouth RCM, said: ‘We have to make a stand because a one per cent increase is not enough.’

Cars passing strikers outside the ambulance station in Portsmouth beeped their horns in support of the action.

Colin Page, Unite member, said: ‘This is about fair pay, the cost of living has gone up and we want a fair pay increase.’

Workers were taking part in a nationwide stoppage by NHS staff who are unhappy they have only been given a one per cent pay rise.