About 500 ambulance staff to go on strike on Thursday and Friday

Ongoing dispute with HSE management centres on trade union representation rights

 Ambulance personnel on strike at the ambulance service facility on Davitt Road in Dublin earlier this month. Photograph: Alan Betson

Ambulance personnel on strike at the ambulance service facility on Davitt Road in Dublin earlier this month. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

About 500 ambulance staff are to stage consecutive strikes on Thursday and Friday this week as part of an on-going dispute.

They are in dispute with HSE management over trade union representation rights and the deduction of union subscriptions at source from their pay.

The staff concerned, who are members of the National Ambulance Service Representative Association (Nasra) held two work previous work stoppages in recent weeks as part of their campaign of industrial action.

Nasra is a branch of the Psychiatric Nurses’ Association (PNA) which the HSE does not recognise as a representative body for ambulance personnel.

The strikes this week which involve various grades of ambulance personnel including including paramedics, advanced paramedics and emergency medical technicians) will run from 7am to 5pm on Thursday and Friday.

The PNA said the consecutive two day strike action on Thursday and Friday represented “ a further escalation of the campaign by ambulance personnel in demand of their right to be represented by the union of their choice, and not by a trade union that the HSE wants to force them to join”.

PNA general secretary Peter Hughes said that to date, the HSE had made “absolutely no effort to address or resolve this dispute, and have now forced professional and highly trained ambulance personnel across the country into the unprecedented position of mounting a two-day strike”.

He claimed the HSE had “chosen to ignore repeated offers” by PNA to attend Workplace Relations Commission talks on this dispute.

“The HSE has further ignored the calls by Minister for Health Simon Harris and many other Dail deputies to resolve this dispute through negotiation rather than confrontation,” Mr Hughes said. “Instead, the HSE has chosen to inflame the situation by refusing to recognise the right of ambulance personnel to be members of a branch of the PNA despite the fact that PNA ambulance branch represents more members by far than at least one of the two unions recognised by the HSE for frontline paramedics .”

The HSE has defended its stances in relation to Nasra and argued that ambulance personnel were well-represented through agreed industrial relations processes.

At the time of the last strike earlier this month, the HSE maintained that recognition of of other associations or unions “would undermine the positive engagement that exists and would impair good industrial relations in the National Ambulance Service”.