Ambulance personnel set to strike next month in row over union representation

Ambulance personnel set to strike next month in row over union representation
File image of ambulance

The ambulance service faces significant disruption on December 19 on foot of further escalation of an ongoing row between the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) and the HSE.

On November 7 last members of NASRA, the National Ambulance Service Representative Association, an affiliate of the PNA, withdrew from overtime in protest at the HSE’s refusal to recognise their union.

Yesterday the PNA issued a statement saying its ambulance personnel members, including paramedics, advanced paramedics and emergency medical technicians, will hold a one day national strike on December 19, from 7am to 5pm, “in pursuit of their right to be represented by the trade union of their choice”.

The PNA represents circa 500 ambulance personnel who have withdrawn from overtime since November 7.

The all-out strike is the third phase of industrial action which began in October. The PNA is objecting to the HSE’s refusal to engage in negotiations in relation to its NASRA branch, or to make payroll deductions of union subscriptions for PNA ambulance personnel members.

PNA General Secretary, Peter Hughes described the strike as “a serious escalation in a dispute which is entirely of the HSE’s making”.

He said it was “a fundamental right to be members of the union of their choice”.

In a statement, the HSE said the National Ambulance Service (NAS) was “satisfied that ambulance personnel are already adequately represented through agreed industrial relations processes that exist in the health sector”.

It said the NAS "has an on-going engagement with SIPTU which is the recognised trade union for front-line NAS staff".

“Recognition of other associations or unions would undermine the positive engagement with SIPTU, would impair good industrial relations in NAS and would not serve the best-interests of its staff,” the statement said.

It said this approach was in keeping with Government policy.

The statement said the NAS had been notified of the escalation by the PNA and its focus was “to ensure service and care delivery is not compromised in any manner”.

The ambulance service faces significant disruption on December 19 on foot of further escalation of an ongoing row between the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) and the HSE.

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