Nurses will once again walk out over pay next year while ambulance worker union heads have called off strike action scheduled for next week.
Nurses will strike on 18 and 19 January and further dates will be confirmed next year, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has announced.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had “left us with no choice” but to prolong the dispute, according to union leader Pat Cullen.
“The government had the opportunity to end this dispute before Christmas but instead they have chosen to push nursing staff out into the cold again in January,” Cullen added.
Earlier this week, members of the RCN in England, Wales and Northern Ireland held their largest ever walkout on 20 December. There was also action taken on 15 December.
Action in the new year will see strike action nurses at more hospital trusts than previously involved, after earlier action saw more than 21,000 nurses walk out.
However, a second day of ambulance strikes in England and Wales – previously set for 28 December – has been called off by the GMB union.
Action in England and Wales will now take place on 11 January, instead of next week, so that “the public will be able to enjoy Christmas without additional anxiety”.
As many as 10,000 GMB-affiliated workers were expected to walk out next week but strike action will now fall on the same day as a strike by ambulance workers in the Unison union.
Rachel Harrison, GMB national secretary said: “The incredible British public are why we are suspending our action over the Christmas period.
“But, it also means the government can now do what ambulance workers and the public want – get round the table and talk pay now. We are here 24/7. Any time, any place.”
Earlier this week, Unision, one of UK’s largest service trade unions announced an additional two days of industrial action. The strikes are set for 11 and 23 January.
The Prime Minister said on Friday morning that the government “fairly and reasonably” moved to accept the recommendations of independent pay review bodies, as strike action sweeps across the country this Christmas.