South Yorkshire ambulance workers set for another walkout

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Ambulance workers in South Yorkshire are staging another walkout next month in a row over budget cuts.

Members of the Unite trade union at Yorkshire Ambulance Service are set to strike for 12 hours from midday to midnight on Friday, June 7.

The union says there will then be a 24-hour walkout on Saturday, June 22, if an agreement cannot be reached with management.

Members of the trade union are still observing a continuous work-to-rule following the first strike on April 2.

The dispute centres around plans to introduce emergency care assistants to work alongside more highly-trained paramedics. Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust needs to find savings of £46m.

Terry Cunliffe, Unite regional officer, said he wanted ambulance bosses to ‘get around the table and negotiate in a positive fashion.’

But a spokeswoman for the trust said it had not received any formal notification of industrial action.

“No emergency worker ever wants to go on strike,” said Mr Cunliffe.

“But if the trust is refusing to meet to discuss members’ concerns - they are left with little choice.

“As clinicians, they feel very strongly about what they see as the downgrading of the frontline response to emergency calls and the serious affect this will have on patient care in Yorkshire.

“These concerns about the Yorkshire ambulance service are set against a background of serious concerns over access to accident and emergency departments and emergency care nationally.”

The ambulance service spokeswoman said: “We have not received formal notification of any industrial action from Unite. Senior representatives from the trust continue to have on-going dialogue with ACAS in a bid to resolve this issue.

“All of our decisions are focused on continuing to deliver a high quality and responsive service to patients and this will always remain our top priority so we have always been

open to discussions with Unite regarding their concerns over patient safety.”