Ambulance staff to stage a fifth strike on Tuesday over union representation rights
HSE argues recognising Nasra would impair industrial relations in the ambulance service
The stoppage on Tuesday will be the fifth strike by members of the National Ambulance Service Representative Association since the start of the year. Photograph: Alan Betson
Ambulance staff will stage another strike on Tuesday as part of a long-running dispute over trade union representation rights.
Members of the National Ambulance Service Representative Association (Nasra) are to stop work from 7.00am to 5.00pm as part of the campaign.
A further strike is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, April 10th .
The stoppage on Tuesday will be the fifth strike by members of Nasra since the start of the year.
The staff concerned - including various grades of ambulance personnel such as paramedics, advanced paramedics and emergency medical technicians - are in dispute with HSE management over trade union representation rights and the deduction of union subscriptions at source from their pay.
Nasra is a branch of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA) and it maintains that it has about 500 members in the National Ambulance Service.
However, the HSE does not recognise the PNA or its Nasra branch as a representative body for ambulance personnel.
PNA general secretary Peter Hughes, said ambulance personnel with their strike action on Tuesday were sending a clear message to the HSE that they were “not prepared to have the fundamental right to join and be represented by the union of their choice denied to them”.
‘Tuesday’s strike (and the further strike day on April 10th ) is avoidable if the HSE will stop its unprecedented opposition to allowing 500 ambulance personnel to be represented by PNA - a trade union with over 40 years’ experience in representing workers within the health and social care services,” said Mr hughes.
“It is time for the HSE to respond to three separate Workplace Relations Commission invitations to attend talks to resolve this dispute through industrial relations procedures and not through confrontation or legal threats.”
The HSE has argued throughout the current dispute that ambulance personnel are well-represented through agreed industrial relations processes.
The HSE has maintained that recognition of other associations or unions “would undermine the positive engagement that exists and would impair good industrial relations in the National Ambulance Service”.