STAFF working in the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) are set to take industrial action in the “first step” of a pay dispute.

It comes after the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) confirmed nurses are set to strike for the first time in the union's 106-year history, as are college and university lecturers, and teaching staff in Scottish schools.

And now, Unite members in SAS, around 1500 staff, have confirmed they will take industrial action at the end of the month.

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Workers will take “continuous action short of strike” from 00.01am on November 25, including an overtime ban and working to rule.

However, they warned that if Health Secretary Humza Yousaf does not re-enter into negotiations then they are actively considering coordinated strike action with other NHS trade unions.

This means union members sticking strictly to contractual terms in respect of working hours, shift start and finish times, and the taking of scheduled breaks.

The SAS workers involved in the action will include advanced practitioners, paramedics, planners, administrative, clerical, real-time analysts, and business intelligence.

The measures taken are designed to in no way impact on responses to emergency incidents, the union said.

The National: Sharon Graham urged the Health Secretary to re-enter negotiationsSharon Graham urged the Health Secretary to re-enter negotiations

Sharon Graham, Unite general secretary, said: “Unite is determined to encourage the Scottish Government to return to the negotiating table.

“The action short of strike we have announced is designed to prevent all out strike action but make no mistake about this, if there is no new improved offer then this is exactly what will happen and the Scottish Government will be to blame.

“We will always stand up for our brave NHS workers and fight for better jobs, terms and conditions.”

Unite has urged Yousaf to get back to the negotiating table with an improved offer or face NHS-wide coordinated strike action.

Jamie McNamee, Unite Scottish Ambulance Service convenor, said: “Unite’s objective in taking this first step of action short of strike is to highlight patient and staff safety along with the ongoing concerns we have over the poor quality of care due to years of underinvestment and cuts.

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“The offer currently on the table is insufficient and unacceptable. In real terms, it represents a significant pay cut.

“The present situation is directly contributing to the NHS losing senior staff due to being overworked and poorly paid.

“Our NHS workers deserve better from the Scottish Government and now they have a final opportunity to make a fair pay offer before this pay dispute dramatically escalates.”

On November 4, Unite NHS members formally rejected the latest pay offer made by NHS Scotland by 74 per cent, and also voted for industrial action in a number of regional and national health boards.

The Retail Price Index (RPI) is currently standing at a 40-year high of 12.6 per cent.

The Scottish Government have been contacted for comment.