Yorkshire Ambulance staff set to strike

Date:14th January 2010.'Ambulances at Leeds General Infirmary Jubilee Wing.

Date:14th January 2010.'Ambulances at Leeds General Infirmary Jubilee Wing.

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Yorkshire Ambulance Service is set to be hit by more disruption after a union announced its members would walk out on strike next month.

Members of the Unite union have already held a one day strike in April over plans by the Trust to send emergency care assistants to 999 call-outs, which is believes will compromise patient safety.

Unite said that the continuing refusal of the management at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust to discuss patient safety had left its members with no option but to take further industrial action.

Unite’s 500 members will stage a 12-hour stoppage on Friday June 7 from 12 midday to 12 midnight.

The dispute centres on the trust’s plans to cut the budget by £46m over the next five years - even though Unite said the ambulance workloads were increasing each month.

Bosses at YAS de-recognised Unite for negotiations on behalf of its members in February.

Unite regional officer Terry Cunliffe said: “The public need to be made aware of the risks that this plan presents which includes the downgrading of the current skill level on NHS frontline vehicles.

“Since the union’s derecognition, the trust’s hardline executives have made no attempt to meet with Unite to resolve any issues or address members’ concerns, despite our repeated calls for talks under the auspices of the conciliation service, Acas.

“Once more, Unite calls for the management to do the mature thing – and get around the table and negotiate in a positive fashion.

“No emergency worker ever wants to go on strike. But if the trust is refusing to meet to discuss members’ concerns - they are left with little choice.

“As clinicians, they feel very strongly about what they see as the downgrading of the frontline response to emergency calls and the serious affect this will have on patient care in Yorkshire.”

A further one day strike will take place on June 22 if negotiations do not take place.

Unite members are also currently operating a continuous overtime ban.

A spokesperson for Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “We have not received formal notification of any industrial action from Unite the Union. “Senior representatives from the Trust continue to have on-going dialogue with ACAS in a bid to resolve this issue.

“All of our decisions are focused on continuing to deliver a high quality and responsive service to patients and this will always remain our top priority so we have always been open to discussions with Unite the Union regarding their concerns over patient safety.”