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Eddie Brand
Job title
Emergency medical technician
Dad-of-two Eddie Brand, 58, is an emergency medical technician based in London. He has worked in the health service for 37 years and is against the Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill.
Eddie Brand

The Bill proposes that those in health, education, the fire service, transport and other key sectors – who lawfully voted to strike – could be forced to attend work. And if they don’t go into work, they face the sack.

Eddie said to the TUC:

“The right to strike is an important democratic right and one that should never be taken away.

NHS workers aren’t blasé about taking strike action – it's always a last resort. But it’s an important bargaining tool when we are trying to win better pay or terms and conditions.

Currently, when we do reluctantly vote to take strike action, we make sure there’s enough cover in place.

We are already making sure our service is safe. We cover all our calls. And we’ve never had any issues about staffing levels during strike action.

There is no need to change the law and threaten key workers like me with the sack for taking a democratic vote to go on strike.

I’ve been in the health service for nearly 40 years, and I’ve only taken strike action a handful of times, over pay and pensions.

But the job is getting harder and harder, following more and more cutbacks, and we need to have the right to protect the service we love. Otherwise, government has all the power.

Colleagues are leaving the profession and are looking for work elsewhere, as our pay is held down and the workload increases.

That’s no good for patients or staff. No one wants their relatives to be left waiting hours for ambulances or being treated in corridors.

Without the right to strike we would have no ability to defend our NHS or our pay. We would be effectively held to ransom, and we will lose even more experienced staff.

I’d ask ministers to reconsider this bill.

Have faith in your workers – especially NHS workers who just want to do the jobs we love and look after our patients.”

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