Ambulance services facing two 24-hour strikes in row over union recognition
Ambulance services face disruption during two 24-hour strikes this month and next due to a long-running paramedics' dispute.
Members of the National Ambulance Service Representative Association (Nasra) are escalating a long-running campaign of industrial action by holding full-day stoppages.
They are planning a 24-hour strike at the end of this month and another one at the start of June, although the dates have not yet been set.
Previously, the 500 paramedics held shorter stoppages.
Army ambulance crews helped shore up services during six previous 12-hour strikes in the row over union recognition.
The members of Nasra, which is a branch of the Psychiatric Nurses Association, want the HSE to recognise their union.
They claim the HSE is forcing them to be members of unions they do not want to join. The HSE has said it recognises Siptu as the main paramedic union.
Health Minister Simon Harris said it is regrettable that Nasra has decided to escalate the dispute.
"The HSE will continue to ensure patient safety through robust contingency planning," he said.
A HSE spokesperson said the national ambulance service recognises Siptu, Unite and Fórsa for staff in the service.
"In particular, Siptu is the recognised trade union for front-line staff," they said.
"Recognition of other associations or unions would undermine the positive engagement that exists and would impair good industrial relations in the national ambulance service."
Meanwhile, psychiatric nurses who are also members of the Psychiatric Nurses Association are due to meet HSE officials next Tuesday in a bid to end a separate row over pay.