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Paramedics in Yorkshire to go on strike
PARAMEDICS in Yorkshire have voted to hold a one-day strike after ambulance bosses derecognised their union in a row over working conditions.
The 450 members of the Unite union have voted to take industrial action on April 2, it was confirmed yesterday, after Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) announced last month that it no longer recognised the union. A continuous overtime ban will also come into force at 6am on March 26.
Unite regional officer Terry Cunliffe said: “Unite calls for the management to open constructive negotiations in the run-up to April 2. This is a final window of opportunity for the Trust to resolve this situation for the benefit of the Yorkshire public.
“The management has been trying to silence Unite after it raised legitimate concerns over patient safety that could flow from the shake-up of ambulance services in the next five years.”
Unite said 61.8 per cent of its YAS members voted in favour of strike action, with 38.2 voting against. Eighty-three per cent voted in favour of industrial action, short of a strike, and 17 per cent against.
The two organisations fell out over proposals by the Trust to introduce the role of emergency care assistants (ECAs) to work alongside more highly-trained paramedics.
Unite said the ECA staff would have only six weeks training, while a paramedic undergoes a two-year degree course.
Mr Cunliffe said: “The hardline management has responded by derecognising Unite and twice rejecting our attempts to take this dispute to Acas and to discuss the implications of industrial action.”
Stephen Moir, deputy chief executive at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “We would like to reassure members of the public that the changes we are introducing to our A&E workforce will enable us to continue to deliver a high-quality and responsive service to patients who will always remain our top priority.
“We would also like to provide assurance that the Trust has plans in place to avoid any disruption to patient care if Unite members decide to go ahead with the industrial action they have outlined today.”