In the week which saw nurses call-off strike action over pay and conditions, 500 ambulance staff take to the picket
Approximately 500 ambulance staff are on strike today (Friday) as part of an ongoing dispute with the HSE. Members of the National Ambulance Service Representative Association (NASRA) are on strike from 7 am to 5 pm, because the HSE, on instructions of the Government, is refusing to recognise their chosen trade union. The staff concerned are also scheduled to stage further work stoppages on Thursday, February 28th and Friday, March 1st.
Ambulance staff want the HSE to deduct their union subscriptions from their pay but the HSE is refusing to do so on the basis that: “recognition of other associations or unions would undermine the positive engagement that exists and would impair good industrial relations in the National Ambulance Service.”
Contingency plans have been implemented to ensure service through-out today. Army paramedics have been drafted in, and ambulance service managers are to take on frontline duties as part of the contingency action. SIPTU, the union which represents most ambulance staff, has confirmed that it expects its members will be working as normal.
NASRA is a branch of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) and the union’s general secretary, Peter Hughes, said the industrial action demonstrated the resolve of ambulance staff: “to be represented by the union of their choice, and not by a trade union that the HSE wants to force them to join”.
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