Further ambulance staff strikes likely, warns union
Third work stoppage under way in dispute over trade union representation rights
National Ambulance Service staff picket a depot on Davitt Road, Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times
There are likely to be further strikes by ambulance staff in the weeks ahead in the dispute over representation rights, a trade union has warned.
Several hundred ambulance personnel are staging their third work stoppage on Thursday and will also be on the picket lines on Friday.
They have already staged two days of strike action in recent weeks.
The dispute involves members of the National Ambulance Service Representative Association (Nasra), a branch of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA).
They are in dispute with HSE management over trade union representation rights and the deduction of union subscriptions at source from their pay
Peter Hughes, general secretary of the PNA, said his members were resolute in continuing their campaign to be represented by the union of their choice.
“We are meeting again next Tuesday to devise our plans for the future,” he said, adding this would most likely involve additional days of strike action.
Mr Hughes said the PNA was nearly 50 years in existence with a history of representing staff in the health service and could not be described as a breakaway trade union.
He said Nasra was a branch of his union that was established nine years ago. “They are just looking to be members of ours and be represented by us.”
Mr Hughes said recognising Nasra would not destabilise industrial relations structures in the health service.
He said the staff on the picket line were not receiving strike pay from the union but were being paid if they answered emergency calls during the stoppage.
The HSE has defended its stances in relation to Nasra and has argued 00ambulance personnel are well represented through agreed industrial relations processes.
The HSE maintained 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”.