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Ambulance workers vote for strike action

Ambulance workers are to stage a 24-hour strike in a long-running row over issues including cuts.

Unite said its 450 members in the Yorkshire service, including paramedics and other staff, will walk out on 2 April and ban overtime from 26 March.

The union warned that further strikes could be held.

Unite said the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust had derecognised the union after it raised concerns about patient safety over plans to make £46 million of savings over the next five years.

Union members voted by 61% in favour of strikes and 83% for other forms of industrial action.

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Yorkshire ambulance workers vote in favour of strike action

Yorkshire ambulance workers have voted to hold a one day strike on Tuesday 2nd April. Members of the Unite union will work out because of a dispute over cost cutting measures which could see assistants with only six weeks training brought in to work with paramedics.

Union members also voted in favour of implementing a continuous overtime ban from 26th March.

Unite calls for the management to open constructive negotiations in the run-up to 2 April. 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 for 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.”

– Terry Cunliffe, Unite regional officer

Workers demonstrate on Teesside

The demonstration near Billingham Credit: ITV News

More than 70 workers took part in a demonstration this morning outside of a new waste incinerator plant on Teesside.

Members of the GMB Union met outside Sita at Haverton Hill near Billingham.

They say that union leaders aren't being allowed on site to verify claims about the number of foreign workers being employed.

The company says that its doors have "always been open."

The demonstration - during the rush hour - caused major traffic delays in the area.

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DVLA staff to strike over closures

Workers at dozens of Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) offices will stage a 24-hour strike on Friday in a dispute over closures and job losses at a number of sites across the country, potentially including two in the North East.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) at 39 local and 10 enforcement offices in England, Scotland and Wales will take part in the industrial action.

The union is campaigning against planned office closures nation-wide, arguing it signals the end of a "highly prized" face-to-face service to motorists.

The union delivered a 72,000 name petition opposing the closures to the Department for Transport - the largest paper petition it had ever organised.

"Our petition was signed by members of the public, motor traders, representatives of motor trade federations and haulage and bus companies, and representatives of historic vehicle clubs.

We're very concerned about the lack of awareness among people that the offices are set to close or even that a consultation has been carried out."

– Union spokesman, PCS

"As well as losing a high quality public service and more than 1,000 jobs at a time of high unemployment, we believe these closures will lead to increased vehicle tax evasion and fraud.

We want the minister to listen to the overwhelming views of the public, motor traders and his staff, and to see sense and reverse these ill-thought through and damaging closures."

– Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of PCS

Tyne & Wear Metro workers to strike over pay

Workers on seven transport cleaning contracts at firms - including the Tyne & Wear Metro - will be taking strike action in a series of disputes over pay and conditions.

The strike action is due to affect the region later this week when members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will take industrial action over four days from Thursday.

Workers say that they are taking strike action because of the "scandal" of low pay in the sector.

Day of action for train service cleaners

The rail route cleaners have been demonstrating outside Newcastle Central Station Credit: ITV

Cleaners who work on some of the busiest rail routes in the region have been taking strike action today.

Workers on Transpennine Express, East Coast and the Tyne and Wear Metro train services are taking 48-hour strike action in separate disputes over pay and conditions from today.

The staff are employed by contractors providing cleaning services to the individual train operators.

Train services are not thought to be disrupted by the action.