Yorkshire Ambulance Service braced for four more strikes by paramedics

A long running industrial dispute at Yorkshire Ambulance Service is set to lead to four more strikes by paramedics.

Members of the Unite union will strike for five hours from 3pm-8pm on Friday and at the same time the following Monday in a row with management over patient safety.

Two further five-hour strikes will be held at the same time on Saturday, March 29, and from 3am-8am on Monday, March 31.

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Unite, which represents 375 staff at the ambulance service, claims its members will go 10 hours without a meal break and be forced to work 12-hour shifts after changes to working patterns were introduced.

The union was de-recognised a year ago by the ambulance service after making claims that safety was being compromised by £46m in cuts to the organisation’s budget over the next five years.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust has repeatedly accused Unite of making misleading claims, saying safety is not being compromised.

Unite has accused ambulance bosses of failing to enter talks to resolve the dispute.

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Terry Cunliffe, Unite’s regional officer, said: “Our members have shown amazing solidarity over the last year despite the hard-line that an obstinate and blinkered management has continued to take.

“Our members don’t take strike action lightly. It has been a last resort, but they feel there are important issues at stake here involving patient and staff safety.”

The ambulance service confirmed it had been notified of the strikes and said in a statement: “Once again this will take place without any concessions for the most seriously ill and injured patients and we remain concerned over this type of action.

“We have continued to seek on-going dialogue with Unite the Union through ACAS, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.

“We will continue to make every effort to get to patients as quickly as possible, whilst maintaining high standards of patient care.”