Yorkshire Ambulance Workers to Strike on Tour de France Weekend
3:22pm 27th June 2014
(Updated 3:28pm 27th June 2014)
Ambulance staff in North Yorkshire will go on strike during the Tour de France weekend on 5th and 6th July.
Members of the Unite union working for the Yorkshire Ambulance Service will walk out between 6am and midnight on Saturday 5th July and again on Sunday 6th July from 6pm until 10pm.
The strike vote was backed by 84% of members with Unite saying it has a "very strong mandate" for industrial action.
Unite regional officer Terry Cunliffe said:
“Once again, our members have spoken with a clear voice that concern for patient and staff safety remains absolutely paramount.
“This is a very strong mandate and we urge the trust’s chief executive David Whiting, who recently imposed new draconian conditions without any agreement with the unions, to sit down for urgent and constructive talks.
“Unite’s door is open for talks under the auspices of the conciliation service, Acas at any time.”
The eighteen month dispute centres around changes to shift patterns which the union claims would see staff only allowed a 45 minute break during the 7th and 8th hour of a twelve hour shift. Unite says it's concerned about the risks to staff and patients from exhaustion. The union also objects to Emergency Care Assistants, who have had six weeks training being given more responsibilities.
David Whiting, Chief Executive at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said:
“We are disappointed with the Unite the Union ballot result and the continued threat of industrial action. There is no mandate for strike action with less than 50% turnout from Unite members; only 177 people participated in the vote from our total workforce of over 4,600 staff."
“Strike action is certainly not in the best interests of our patients and we are disappointed that Unite continues to put patients at risk."
“By choosing to take industrial action over the weekend of the Tour de France when Yorkshire will be proud to be showcasing its people, places and warm welcome to a world-wide audience, it reflects the total disregard Unite has for the welfare of patients. Their actions are clearly designed to try and disrupt vital services for local residents, visitors and vulnerable patients who find themselves in an emergency situation."
“We would like to reassure members of the public that Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust is committed to minimising the level of disruption to its services during any periods of industrial action and we have robust contingency plans in place to ensure we continue to provide responsive, effective and safe services for our patients.”
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