Ambulance workers vote to strike on Tour de France weekend

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Yorkshire Ambulance Service workers have voted to strike on the weekend of July 5 and 6 - just as tens of thousands of visitors are expected to pour into Calderdale to watch the Tour de France Grand Depart,

The union Unite announced the decision today as part of a ‘long-running dispute over patient and staff safety issues’.

The union said it had received ‘a very strong mandate’ to carry out the action ‘to ensure that the already over-stretched ambulance staff did not become exhausted’ in carrying out its duties.

Unite members working at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust voted by 84 per cent to strike between 6am and midnight on Saturday 5 July and from 6pm to 10pm on Sunday 6 July.

Unite regional officer Terry Cunliffe said: “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.

Today’s announcement is the latest volley in an 18-month dispute over the introduction of elongated shift patterns. A union statement today said it was “only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed as a result of staff exhaustion.”

Nearly 400 Unite Yorkshire ambulance members have held a series of strikes from April 2013.