Paramedics across Hyndburn have walked out on strike today in protest at the government's decision not to give them a recommended one per cent pay rise.
Around 20 staff at the ambulance station in Accrington and more at the Altham station have taken strike action with many joining picket lines from 7am to 11am.
Several trade unions are involved in the action, including those representing nurses, paramedics, hospital porters and ambulance crews as well as the Royal College of Midwives.
The strike is the biggest of its kind for over 30 years and nationally involves more than 400,000 NHS staff.
Eamonn Higgins, a paramedic in Accrington and a Unite representative, said: “It's a national dispute over a one per cent pay increase which is what our review body approved.
“Unfortunately the health secretary Jeremy Hunt said they can't afford it.
“We haven't had a pay increase since 2010 which in real terms is a pay cut of 15 per cent.
“This is the first strike that's taking place and depending on the government's response there maybe further action taken.”
He added: “We have got a very good response from the public and most of the passing motorists have been pipping their horns in support.”
Mr Higgins said during the strike action they have a 'skeleton crew' covering the ambulance stations to respond to life-threatening emergencies only.
Mr Hunt said that hospitals would be forced to lay off staff if the recommended pay award was met in full.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “We absolutely will talk to the unions, we've been prepared to talk to them throughout this.
“We will talk to them if they're prepared to look to reform the system of increments, which is unclear and unfair.
“Nearly 60 per cent of NHS staff get an automatic pay rise through their increments of an average of three per cent. We can't afford to offer a one per cent on top of the three per cent.”