Quotes from the picket line

Unite members taking strike action speak out about why they're taking a stand

Reading time: 3 min

On Wednesday (February 1) more than half a million workers from unions across sectors took strike action, including Unite members employed as bus workers for Abellio and many others.

As Unite ramps up strike action in many disputes, UniteLive will bring you a selection of quotes straight from the picket line. Below are quotes from our most recent ambulance strike in January. Unite’s next ambulance strike is due to take place on Monday, February 6.

“The government needs to check the definition of a crisis because that is exactly what we’re in right now – a crisis. If the government wants to fix the NHS and social care, they have to put money into it, and that has to include pay and conditions.”

  • Shaun Tierney, Unite rep and paramedic

“I’ve signed up to be ‘life and limb’ cover during the strike as many of my colleagues have — and we’re happy to do it. We’re not taking strike action lightly. We’re doing this for our patients.”

  • Matthew Donnelly, Unite member and EMT

“We’re frustrated because we can’t deliver the service that we want to deliver to patients – and those patients are our friends, our neighbours, our family. If the NHS can’t deliver what we need it to deliver, then we all suffer together.”

  • Gary Blackburn, Unite rep and paramedic

“Ministers are willing to justify high salaries for CEOs on the basis of retention, but when we’ve got 140,000 vacancies in the NHS, they’re not willing to use the same argument. The government needs to sit round the table and talk to the unions.”

  • Matthew Pearce, Unite rep and paramedic

Stay tuned on UniteLive for more quotes from the picket line this week and beyond.

By Hajera Blagg