An NHS boss has claimed that the healthcare striking standoff is turning into a “war of attrition” and if industrial action continues the NHS will not be able to recover.
The stark message comes as Unite general secretary Sharon Graham warns that walk-outs will only end if ministers offer workers a 10 per cent increase.
She has also called for Labour to show “leadership” by backing the figure – which ministers fear would cause inflation to surge and damage public finances.
The latest walk out is set to continue tomorrow with more than 2,600 ambulance workers set to stage more strike action.
Nurses, teachers, civil servants and train drivers have also planned further action.
Matthew Taylor says the striking standoff is turning in a 'war of attrition' Wiki commons
NHS Confederation head Matthew Taylor said: “Around a week ago, you might recall that there was a kind of sense of, of some opening up, it seemed as though the Secretary of State Steve Barclay was willing to talk about pay and unfortunately, that momentum that seemed to be there, has now been lost.
“And this feels like we're in a war of attrition.”
The NHS boss said that the Government needed to end its “ambivalence” towards the pay negotiations.
Speaking to Times Radio, he added: “I think there's a sense in Government that if they were to, to give way to compromise in health, then it would have knock-on effects on other public sector industrial disputes.
“Well, I understand that, but I would call on the Government to be pragmatic, you know, what's going on health is specific to health.
“And if we don't tackle it, if these strikes do become a kind of war of attrition, it becomes business as usual, then we will not be able to recover.”
Union chief Graham says that the Government did not want a resolution.
Talking on Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday, she said: “So, it's a double-digit pay rise. If they came in the room, and they offered a double-digit pay rise, we would take that back to our members and our members would make the decision.
Ambulance strikes are set to continue over a pay dispute Jacob King
“They're not doing that, they are playing with words, dancing round their handbags, and they're not coming and doing the deal they need to do to get the NHS back working.”
She added that Labour are being “too cautious” and must show “real leadership”.
“It's this government's disastrous handling of the NHS that has brought it to the breaking point, and as crisis piles on crisis, the prime minister is seen to be washing his hands of the dispute,” she said.
“What a disgrace. What an abdication of leadership.”