Ambulance overtime ban and one-day strike

SERVICES at Dewsbury District Hospital could be further hit by industrial action by ambulance workers.

An overtime ban starts from Tuesday and a one-day strike is to take place on April 2 following a ballot of Unite members. The vote was called after Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust bosses decided to ‘de-recognise’ Unite.

It came after a row between Unite and trust management over cost-cutting plans, which union officials claim will put patients at risk.

Paramedics are to be sent out with ‘semi-skilled care assistants’ with just six weeks’ training in a bid to save £46m a year.

The union balloted its 450 paramedic and ambulance staff, with 61.8 per cent in favour of strike action and 38.2 per cent against.

Eighty-three per cent of members voted in favour of industrial action short of a strike, while 17 per cent were against. Unite regional officer Terry Cunliffe blamed the trust and said: “They refused to meet with us under any circumstances.

“They said they were prepared for any industrial dispute and would manage it. Faced with that attitude, what are our members to do?”

The trust’s deputy chief executive, Stephen Moir, said: “The changes we are introducing will enable us to continue to deliver a high-quality service. We would also like to reassure the public that the trust has plans in place to avoid any disruption to patient care.”

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