Unite launches strike ballot at Yorkshire Ambulance Service

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Ambulance workers could go on strike in protest at their union being de-recognised in a row over patient safety.

The Unite union has launched a strike ballot after Yorkshire Ambulance Service said it would no longer be recognised for negotiations on behalf of its 450 members.

The move came after Unite claimed patient safety was being put at risk by cost-cutting plans which will see semi-skilled care assistants sent to 999 call-outs.

Unions said the salaries and skills of more than 300 emergency staff would be downgraded to help save £46m over five years.

Bosses at YAS insisted safety would not be compromised.

They said last week that with effect from February 4, YAS had decided to cease voluntary recognition of Unite for the purposes of collective bargaining.

Terry Cunliffe, Unite’s regional officer, said today: “I can confirm that Unite has begun the legal process to hold an industrial action ballot over the trust’s unilateral decision to de-recognise Unite.

“The management is trying to silence Unite after it raised legitimate concerns over patient safety that could flow from the shake-up of ambulance services in the next five years.”