England

Yorkshire Ambulance Service staff plan more strikes

Ambulance staff have announced plans to stage two further strikes in Yorkshire in protest at new shift patterns and staffing arrangements.

The Unite union said its members would take industrial action on Friday and Monday, between 15:00 BST and 21:00.

It claims the introduction of emergency care assistants and new shift patterns could affect patient safety.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust said it was "disappointed" by the announcement.

The union said under new staffing arrangements emergency care assistants are taking on more responsibilities, including being the first to respond to emergency calls.

It called for them to be given more training.

Long-running dispute

Unite regional officer Terry Cunliffe said: "The trust's chief executive David Whiting continues to play hard ball with his employees and has snubbed every genuine attempt by Unite to engage in positive talks for the benefit of the Yorkshire public.

"Our members firmly believe that the public deserve a first-class, fully resourced ambulance service - and, as they have shown on a number of occasions since April 2013, they have been prepared to strike to strongly make that case."

Ian Brandwood, executive director of HR at the trust, said: "We remain disappointed that Unite the Union has decided to continue with yet more strike action.

"Once again the industrial action will take place without any concessions for the most seriously ill and injured patients and we remain concerned over this type of action.

"We would like to reassure members of the public that we have robust contingency plans in place."

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