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Ambulance trust urged to end its union stance
12:44pm Saturday 23rd February 2013 in News
ONE of the UK’s biggest unions has written to Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) urging it to end its ongoing row with a rival union.
Regional bosses from Unison, which represents a huge proportion of ambulance staff, wants YAS to patch things up with Unite, after ambulance bosses announced they had de-recognised the union earlier this month.
Talks are now understood to be underway involving ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), Unite and the ambulance service.
A spokesman for Unison confirmed its regional head for Yorkshire had approached YAS.
He said: “We have written to the chief executive of the ambulance service and asked them to re-recognise the union. Three or four days later we got a letter from YAS saying they were not going to change their stance.”
Rachael Maskell, Unite head of health, said: “We want to talk to the employer for obvious reasons and for the employer to come to its senses. Our main concern is patient care.”
Miss Maskell said Unite was going ahead with its plan to hold a ballot for industrial action over the situation.
Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust told Unite that from February 4 it would no longer voluntarily recognise the union for the purposes of negotiations on behalf of its members.
David Whiting, trust chief executive, said: “We carefully reflected upon this difficult matter before advising Unite the union of our decision to derecognise them.
“Unfortunately, the working relationship with Unite remains disappointing and we have not received a constructive contribution to the difficult decisions that the trust has been required to make for the future, particularly as we seek to maintain high-quality care for patients against the realities of the tough economic climate.”
Unite had criticised the ambulance service for its plans to introduce “emergency care assistants” to frontline ambulance crews.
The union said the new role required only six weeks of training, while a paramedic must undergo a two-year degree.
The union said it would not allow management to “bully staff into accepting a second-class service for the public of Yorkshire, putting lives at risk”.
Unite has 450 ambulance staff on its books, including about 50 based in York.