Union offers talks over South Yorkshire ambulance service strike

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TRADE union leaders have offered to hold Easter talks in a bid to avert a planned strike by South Yorkshire ambulance workers next week.

The Unite union is offering to enter into negotiations with health bosses over the Bank Holiday weekend, in a bid to settle a dispute over patient safety concerns.

Bosses at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust want to introduce emergency care assistants to work alongside paramedics, as part of measures to save £46million over the next five years.

The assistants are required to take a six-week training course, while paramedics study a two-year degree course.

Terry Cunliffe, regional officer at the union, said: “Unite is prepared to hold talks with the management at any time over the Easter holiday to resolve this dispute in the interests of patients and the general public.”

Unite made the offer today ahead of the one-day strike by its 450 paramedics and other ambulance staff members on Tuesday.

Its members at the ambulance service have been operating an overtime ban since yesterday.

Unite was recently derecognised as a trade union by the trust.