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Ambulance staff set to strike after ballot
AMBULANCE staff in our region looked set to vote in favour of industrial action today as deadlock between bosses and union chiefs showed no sign of breaking.
The result of a ballot by members of the Unite union was expected today, and could lead to immediate strike action from its 460 members.
The row began over proposed changes to the way emergency ambulances are staffed, leading to Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) derecognising Unite during negotiations in January.
Unite regional officer Terry Cunliffe said: “I know from feedback we have had that our members are very, very angry, not only about the staffing levels but about the derecognition. They feel they have no voice any more and I expect that to be reflected in the ballot.”
Mr Cunliffe said he had offered an “open hand” to YAS bosses to avoid what could be “a very damaging campaign of industrial action” but the service had refused to talk to either Unite or ACAS and had said that it was fully prepared to cope with strike action.
He said: “I have been an officer for over 20 years and it’s unique, in my experience, to derecognise a nationally recognised union."
Stephen Moir, YAS deputy chief executive, said: “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.
“More recently Unite has advised its members to accept the trust’s proposals on changes to the A&E workforce and this is inconsistent with their stated public position to reject the trust’s plans.”
He said: “We would also like to provide assurance that, in the event of Unite members deciding to participate in any form of industrial action, the trust has plans in place to keep any disruption to patient care to a minimum.”