Industrial action involving thousands of ambulance workers in the East of England has been suspended after unions announced fresh pay talks with the government.

The strikes - which were planned for next Monday and Wednesday - were set to involve staff from the East of England Ambulance Service and other NHS workers.

But UNISON and GMB Union have suspended walkouts after the Department of Health and Social Care confirmed there would be additional investment in pay for both this year (2022/23) and next (2023/24).

East Anglian Daily Times: UNISON head of health Sara Gorton. Credit: PAUNISON head of health Sara Gorton. Credit: PA (Image: PA)

UNISON head of health Sara Gorton said: "Unions said all along they could pause strikes if ministers would only commit to formal talks to boost pay for this year.

"The government has finally promised extra investment in pay for both this and next year.

"The sad thing is this could all have been handled so differently. Proper pay talks should have started months ago, long before the first strike was called. That would have avoided days of disruption for the NHS and its patients. 

“Whether the talks signal the beginning of the end of the current dispute will emerge in the coming days. If a deal can be reached, strikes can end and everyone can work together again to ensure the NHS gets back on track."

East Anglian Daily Times: GMB national secretary Rachel Harrison. Credit: PAGMB national secretary Rachel Harrison. Credit: PA (Image: PA)

Rachel Harrison, GMB National Secretary, said: "This is a huge shift from the Government, who for months have refused to consider negotiations on pay.  

"Now, they are saying they are willing to sit down and talk. 

"The government has given assurances of additional cash for both years above existing budgets and that any deal will respect the existing Agenda for Change structure. 

"GMB’s ambulance workers have agreed to suspend industrial action so talks can begin – however the strike will return with a vengeance should talks break down."