Ambulance Workers in Yorkshire are on Strike.
9:23am 2nd April 2013
Ambulance workers in Yorkshire are on strike.
A day of walkouts is being held in a row over pay union rights and plans to bring in staff with six weeks training.
Terry Cunliffe from the Unite union says the plans are dangerous:
“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.
“Now our members have voted for strike action on 2 April and a continuous overtime ban from 26 March.
“It shows the depth of concern that our members feel about patient safety because of the £46 million of savings that managers want to implement.
“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.”
“We are very conscious that the public in Yorkshire wants to see this dispute settled and we also want a resolution, but not at the expense of patient safety.
“To achieve this means addressing the underlying issues which are the derecognition of Unite and discussing the workforce plan.
“I would be happy to meet the trust’s chief executive David Whiting, the deputy chief executive Stephen Moir and the trust chair Della Cannings, under the auspices of the conciliation service, Acas for meaningful and constructive talks over the holiday period.”
Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust says it is committed to minimising the level of disruption to services during the 24-hour strike today and adds that the strike is expected to involve less than 10 per cent of the total staff employed by the Trust.
David Whiting, Chief Executive of the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, says:
“Our contingency plans are focused on providing a safe, responsive and high-quality emergency service to patients and this will always remain our top priority. We have been actively seeking to discuss with Unite the Union how patients can be protected during the strike through a number of exemptions, to ensure Unite members continue to respond to 999 patients, prior to this industrial action taking place. Our willingness to engage with Unite the Union has meant that senior officials from the Trust have been in regular contact with Unite, supported by ACAS, throughout the Easter period. Unfortunately, these talks have not resulted in any exemptions, so Unite the Union has confirmed that its members will not be responding to any 999 calls during the 24-hour period. I am deeply concerned over this type of action, which I believe will be of concern to all of our A&E staff, who are very committed to patient care, and will place many of them in a very difficult situation.
“We recognise the legal right for those of our staff who are members of the union to participate in industrial action, but our focus is to balance that right with the need to first safeguard patient care and safety. However, I do not believe that industrial action in this form is in the best interests of patients, and it is deeply concerning for a trade union representing ambulance service workers to strike without making any concessions to patient safety.
“Throughout the 24-hour period of the strike, and the continuous overtime ban that Unite the Union commenced on 26 March 2013, our focus will be on taking steps to maintain operational cover to sustain effective and safe services.”
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