Paramedics threaten strike over union row
PARAMEDICS could take industrial action after Yorkshire Ambulance Service announced it is no longer recognising the Unite union.
Workers have been left stunned by the trust's decision, which removes the right of union officials to represent their members during discussions over proposed changes.
The service recently unveiled new plans for the way it operates its A&E workforce but unions claim the trust has made the moves to save £46m over the next five years.
Unite regional officer Terry Cunliffe said: "We are being no longer recognised as the employee representative during negotiations.
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"This has come right out of the blue. I'd heard some rumours but I didn't believe them.
"I have been involved in the ambulance service for 20 years and have never known anything like this.
"We consider this to be a deliberate act to silence members from raising legitimate concerns."
The changes proposed by the trust include building up its current clinical support workers by introducing a new role known as emergency care assistants to work alongside paramedics in ambulances.
But Unite says these roles are given to people with less training than paramedics and they would be unable to cope with larger emergencies such as a multiple car crash or house fires.
Mr Cunliffe said: "We are now seeking legal advice and believe this is a breach of the agreements in place. We are considering industrial action to maintain our right to raise issues of patient care and safety.
"We intend to hold those who have made this decision to account.
"We will soon be preparing to ballot members on industrial action.
"We are a campaigning union and will not let this go. I have also spoken to Unison who will vigorously campaign on our behalf."
The trust has confirmed it will cease to voluntarily recognise Unite the Union for the purposes of collective bargaining but will continue to work with Unison.
Chief executive David Whiting said: "We carefully reflected upon this difficult matter before advising Unite of our decision to de-recognise them.
"Unfortunately, the working relationship with Unite remains disappointing and we've not received a constructive contribution to the difficult decisions we've been required to make for the future."