Yorkshire Ambulance: The battle against union derecognition

Protesters outside the Yorkshie Ambulance Service HQ

Protesters outside the Yorkshie Ambulance Service HQ

Around 40 Unite members and supporters protested outside Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) headquarters near Wakefield on 3 September.

The protest, outside an extraordinary board meeting of the trust, demanded the re-recognition of Unite as well as full training of Emergency Care Assistants (ECA) to the level of technicians with the correct rate of pay for that job.

Debbie Wilkinson, YAS Unite branch secretary explained that: “The Trust say they derecognised us because we weren’t constructive during the initial stages of the review”.

In other words Unite didn’t roll over and accept the imposition of staff who have only been through a few weeks’ training to crew ambulances instead of technicians or paramedics with much longer training periods.

ECAs earn less than technicians and paramedics. This attack on patient safety as well as the jobs of ambulance service staff is part of a £46 million package of cuts.

Debbie also pointed to the irony of the Trust derecognising Unite for raising concerns over patient safety at around the same time as the Francis report into Mid Staffs NHS Trust advocated that NHS staff should do just that!

The battle continues in YAS NHS Trust with a further protest organised for 24 September at 8.30am outside Cutler’s Hall, Church Street, Sheffield, S1 1HG. The branch can also be followed on twitter @UniteYASmembers.

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