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12th Dec 2022

Soldiers trained to keep ambulance services running as UK braces for worst strike action in a generation

Charlie Herbert

Soldiers being trained to keep ambulance services running as UK braces for worst strike action in a generation

It’s been suggested that soldiers may have ‘had enough of bailing the government out’

The army has been placed on standby as the country prepares for a week of major strike action.

On Tuesday, a 48-hour rail strike begins, and this will quickly be followed by nurses walking out on Thursday.

Meanwhile, teachers, junior doctors, midwives and firefighters are being balloted on action, with the government unwilling to hold direct talks.

Ahead of the disruption, soldiers are being trained to keep ambulance and border services running, and the Cobra committee will meet regularly from today to “protect the public.”

Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden said: “Of course we want to ensure people are paid fairly, but what isn’t fair is for union bosses to put people’s livelihoods at risk in order to push their pay demands to the front of the queue.”

According to the government, the cost of meeting an 11% pay rise in line with inflation for public sector workers would be £28 billion, a figure they have labelled “unaffordable.”

But ex-Army head Lord Dannatt warned that soldiers may be tired of “bailing the government out of the muddles it gets itself into,” a year on from helping in the pandemic.

He said: “Here we are once again. Soldiers might decide they’ve had enough of bailing the government out of the muddles it gets itself into. They might think, ‘I joined to be a soldier, not a strike-breaker.'”

But if strikers were looking for support from the Labour party, they will have been left disappointed on Monday morning, after Sir Keir Starmer told LBC that he believes the 19 percent pay rise nurses are asking for is “more than can be afforded by the government.”

It comes after the government decided not to go ahead with plans for new laws to restrict strikes for emergency workers and require minimum service levels for others in the public sector, the Metro reports.

Meanwhile, 40 Boris Johnson-supporting Tory MPs have signed a letter to prime minister Rishi Sunak demanding that he slash public spending.

The group claim that £7 billion could be cut from the public sector, including more than £500 million being spent on equality, diversity and inclusion projects.

“We will have a much better chance of cutting taxes or spending more on front-line services if we end this sort of waste,” they warned.

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Army,News,strikes