Ambulance workers vote to strike

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Yorkshire ambulance workers have voted to hold a one-day strike on Tuesday, April 2, in the dispute over patient safety and derecognition of Unite, the country’s largest union.

Unite said today its 450 paramedics and other ambulance staff members had also voted overwhelmingly to institute a continuous overtime ban from March 26.

The union said it had twice attempted to discuss the implications of industrial action and also asked for the dispute to be referred to the conciliation service Acas – but the management at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust had refused efforts to find a solution.

The overtime ban starts at 6.00 am on March 26 and will be continuous.

A 24-hour strike is due to be held on 2 April and further strike action could follow.

The ballot figures were: 61.8 per cent voted in favour of strike action, with 38.2 voting against. 83 per cent voted in favour of industrial action, short of a strike, and 17 per cent against.

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.”

A key proposal by the trust is the introduction of emergency care assistants (ECAs) to work alongside more highly-trained paramedics.