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Section 2 Update

Published 1st May 2024 by GMB EMAS

The joint working group of the National Ambulance Strategic Partnership Forum (NASPF) has now concluded. You can read the joint statement here – joint-statement-on-section-2-negotations.pdf

It was at GMBs request that this working group was established to address and resolve the many inconsistencies in application of Section Two since it was introduced in the 2018 Pay Deal.

GMB is supportive of the agreement (in principle) to allow ambulance workers who were forced onto section two due to a change in role – within the same band – to transfer back.

However, we are disappointed in the significant lack of progress in many other areas of concern that we raised. Therefore, GMBs campaign on Section Two will continue outside of NASPF.

A Brief History of GMB’s Campaign

GMB have always been opposed to the implementation of Section 2 Agenda for Change Unsocial Hours Enhancements for ambulance service staff since it was introduced in 2018. We raised concerns at the time that this would be damaging for the morale of the workforce by creating a two-tier workforce and would also have a significant detrimental impact on career progression. GMB stands by that position still and we believe there is increasing evidence of those points being accurate. 

GMB’s position on this is clear. We never agreed to Section 2 for ambulance service workers and believe that all of our concerns raised at the time have proven to be correct. We believe it to be a deterrent to career progression, detrimental to health and well-being as it encourages presenteeism, divides the workforce, discriminatory in its application to pregnant workers and NQPs.

GMB believes that Section 2 should be an option for workers as we appreciate some staff may want to be on those terms. However, GMB believes that anyone who has been forced on to Section 2 since 2018 should be given the opportunity to transfer back to Annex 5; and we want a commitment that no more forced transfers will take place.


20182018-21 Pay Award, includes introduction of Section Two for new starters or those changing jobs within the ambulance service. GMB was the only union to reject this pay offer.
6 Jan 2021GMB submits paper for consideration to NASPF unions in an attempt to resolve issues of inconsistency of application across ambulance services. gmb-section-2-discussion-paper.pdf
2021Joint working group formed at NASPF. No progress is made.
June 2023GMB Congress makes policy to campaign against Section Two for ambulance service workers.
June 2023GMB launched petition on Section Two – calling for no more forced transfers on to the section.…
15 June 2023GMB wrote to NASPF employers raising concerns about the lack of progress in the working group and withdrawing our engagement. fao-k-gulliver-emp-side-chair-naspf-15-jun-23.pdf
12 July 2023Employers’ response to GMB letter. naspf-response-section-2-12-july.pdf
July 23 – March 24Working group discussions….
6 Feb 2024GMB submits pay claim to Government, which includes a call for: Unsocial Hours Enhancements: All changes made under the 2018 pay settlement are reversed, including the application of Annex 5 for all ambulance service workers.
April 24NASPF working group concluded. Joint NASPF statement issued. 

What are the issues with Section 2?

GMB believes that Section 2 Agenda for Change:

  • Fails to support the particular stresses ambulance staff face in removing unsocial hours payments during sickness absence.
  • Unfairly puts staff at a financial detriment when developing or embarking on training opportunities.
  • Is an underhand mechanism for reducing the salary bill in ambulance services, fundamentally undermining terms and conditions.

What Next?

It is vitally important to keep fighting to overturn these detrimental changes.

Whilst we welcome some movement by employers, it is far too little given the on-going issues this imposition is causing GMB members. We will now be seeking your views on this and other issues affecting your working life to ascertain the strength of feeling going forwards. GMB reps will be out and about talking to members in the next few weeks – please engage and let us know your feelings.

Let us know what you think about this issue and what you are prepared to do to campaign and fight against Section 2 by emailing

Not a GMB member? Join today – Want information on being a GMB Rep in your Workplace? Email

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