Yorkshire ambulance workers could strike in the dispute over patient safety and derecognition of Unite, the country’s largest union.

Unite said it was beginning the legal process to ballot its 450 paramedics and other ambulance staff members at the trust for strike action or industrial action short of a strike. The ballot result could be known by the end of the month.

Unite regional officer Terry Cunliffe said: “I can confirm that Unite has begun the legal process to hold an industrial action ballot over the trust’s unilateral decision to derecognise Unite.

“The management is 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.

“Whatever the outcome of the ballot, our members will always put patient safety first.”

The YAS employs more than 4,300 people and chief executive David Whiting 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.”