AMBULANCE workers in Yorkshire are set to strike over a major row between managers and a union.
The ongoing dispute between Unite and Yorkshire Ambulance Service has escalated with union members now voting in favour of a walkout.
A 24-hour strike will take place on April 2 – but a ban on overtime will start next week.
It follows a clash over patient safety fears and the derecognition of Unite, which the union says is an attempt to “silence” it.
Unite regional officer Terry Cunliffe said: “Management has been 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.
“It shows the depth of concern that our members feel about patient safety because of the £46m of savings that managers want to implement.”
A health campaign group said the derecognition of Unite by ambulance bosses was “extremely worrying”.
Retired nurse and union steward Maureen Idle, of Leeds Hospital Alert, said: “I think it’s unfortunate they are going on strike but it’s unfortunate they feel they have no option.
“If they had felt they were being listened to, they would not have to take this action.”
Unite’s 450 members at Wakefield-based Yorkshire Ambulance Service, which has 4,300 workers, had spoken out about workforce changes which they say could result in underqualified staff going to emergencies.
Stephen Moir, deputy chief executive at Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, said: “We would like to reassure members of the public that the changes we are introducing to our A&E workforce will enable us to continue to deliver a high quality and responsive service to patients and they will always remain our top priority.
“We would also like to provide assurance that the trust has plans in place to avoid any disruption to patient care if Unite the Union members decide to go ahead with the industrial action they have outlined.”