Union dues row threatens ambulance service

An ambulance service that is heavily reliant on overtime faces significant disruption next month if up to 600 personnel go ahead with a threat not to work outside rostered hours.

Union dues row threatens ambulance service

An ambulance service that is heavily reliant on overtime faces significant disruption next month if up to 600 personnel go ahead with a threat not to work outside rostered hours.

The threat has arisen on foot of refusal by the HSE to process the union subscriptions of staff who used to be members of Siptu, but who now belong to the National Ambulance Service Representative Association (NASRA), an affiliate of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA).

The PNA/NASRA has written to the HSE advising that members will not make themselves available for overtime from 7am on November 7.

A union spokesman said it “could affect the delivery of services”.

“The ambulance service is heavily reliant on overtime and, without that goodwill and co-operation, it will raise pressure on the service,” he said.

The spokesman said it did not make sense for the HSE “to get involved in what effectively seems to be an inter-union dispute” and that it “appears to be trying to dictate what organisation paramedics can belong to”.

He said the HSE had been processing union subscriptions for NASRA members for seven years up to last November and NASRA had represented members at various industrial relations forums in which the HSE had taken part.

The HSE stopped processing NASRA subscriptions on the grounds that Siptu is the only union with negotiating rights to the ambulance grade. It does collect subscriptions through automated deductions for other unions, including Siptu.

The HSE failed to respond yesterday when asked if it had any plans to address the issue of union subscriptions or to recognise the PNA/NASRA as having negotiating rights.

Last week, PNA/NASRA members commenced a campaign of industrial action involving a refusal to work with vehicles that did not comply fully with regulations.

In July, plans by some ambulance personnel to stage industrial action were withdrawn after the HSE threatened to take legal action.

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