Yorkshire Ambulance service workers have voted to strike on the fifth and sixth of July - the weekend of the Tour De France. Four hundred members of the Unite union are embroiled in a long-running dispute over new working conditions and meal breaks.
The union says it has very real concerns about patient and staff safety and has denied that taking industrial action next weekend is a cynical ploy.
Yorkshire Ambulance Service say they are disappointed at the decision by staff belonging to the Unite union to strike on the weekend of the Tour de France.
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.
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.
– David Whiting, Chief Executive at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Staff from Yorkshire Ambulance Service have voted to strike on the weekend of the Grand Départ leg of the Tour de France in Yorkshire.
The union UNITE balloted members over the action which is the latest in a long running dispute over patient and staff safety issues.
Unite members working at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust voted by 84 per cent to strike between 06:00 and 23:59 on Saturday 5 July and on Sunday 6 July, starting at 18:00 and ending at 22:00.
The 400 members of the union represent less than ten per cent of the Trust's full staff.
Bosses at the Ambulance Service withdrew recognition from Unite as a union representing staff as a result of the continuing dispute.
Unite say staff are concerned about the introduction of elongated shift patterns. The union claim it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed as a result of staff exhaustion.
Yorkshire Ambulance Service say the possibility of staff members striking is a 'disappointing' development in continuing discussions with union, Unison.
“Patients’ needs are at the heart of everything we do and our absolute focus is to ensure that we continue to deliver a safe, responsive and high quality service to our patients.
Developments to the Emergency Care Assistant (ECA) role formed part of a wider package which was discussed with Unison earlier this week and although they felt unable to agree to the changes as a whole, they did indicate that they were satisfied with this element of the proposal.
“It is disappointing that Unison has been unable to fully support us on this development, but we are committed to finding ways in which we can make things better for both our patients and our workforce and we will continue to work with our staff to do this.”
– David Whiting, Chief Executive, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust
Staff from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service belonging to the Unite union have announced they will strike this weekend.
The strike will take place across the county from 3pm on Saturday to 7am on Sunday morning.
The union has three hundred and seventy five members in the service.
The crux of the dispute is the introduction of longer shift patterns that could mean staff working ten hours without a meal break.
The union has said that it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured or killed as a result of staff exhaustion.
In a statement the Trust said it has "taken all reasonable procedural steps to resolve the dispute and has fully cooperated with the course of action agreed with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS)."
Yorkshire ambulance staff have voted to take strike action over changes in shift patterns which could mean paramedics going more than 10 hours without a meal break and staff being forced to work 12 hour shifts.
The staff, members of Unite, voted overwhelmingly for a 24 hour strike which will commence at 00:01 hours on Saturday February 1.
They also plan to walkout for four hours, between 3pm and 7pm on Monday February 3 over the imminent introduction of new elongated shift patterns.
Unite regional officer Terry Cunliffe said: “Our members are taking action as they are very concerned about the scale of these changes and how they will impact on patient safety in Yorkshire. The shift patterns are not family friendly and will lead to an overtired workforce.
“Once again, Unite makes the offer of talks with David Whiting, the trust’s chief executive, who has dug in his heels and refuses to engage with the legitimate concerns Unite has raised on behalf of its members and the Yorkshire public.”
Yorkshire ambulance staff are being balloted for strike action over changes in shift patterns which could mean paramedics going more than 10 hours without a meal break and staff being forced to work 12 hour shifts.
Unite, the country’s largest union, is balloting its 450 members at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust for strike action over the introduction of new elongated shift patterns next month.
The union wants a protected meal break of 30 minutes after six hours. It's the latest development in a long running dispute, coming just under a year since the Trust ceased to recognise the union after it raised concerns over the impact of £46 million cuts on patient safety.