South Yorkshire ambulance workers vote for further strikes

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Ambulance workers in South Yorkshire have voted to go on strike next week as a long-running dispute over conditions and budget cuts continues.

More than 80 per cent of Unite trade union members at Yorkshire Ambulance Service voted to walk out between 6am and midnight on Saturday, July 5, and from 6pm to 10pm on Sunday, July 6.

This means they will be on duty when the Tour de France visits Sheffield, but not during earlier stages of the race’s visit to the region.

The dispute currently centres on the introduction of longer shift patterns, a new meal break system and new rules which mean emergency care assistants respond first to 999 calls.

Assistants undergo six weeks of training, instead of the two-year degree course required of paramedics.

Unite regional officer Terry Cunliffe said: “Once again, our members have spoken with a clear voice that concern for patient and staff safety remains absolutely paramount.

“This is a very strong mandate and we urge the trust’s chief executive David Whiting, who recently imposed new draconian conditions without any agreement with the unions, to sit down for urgent and constructive talks.

“Unite’s door is open for talks under the auspices of the conciliation service, Acas, at any time.”

A series of strikes have been held since April last year.