Monday 19 November 2018

Over 500 paramedics back industrial action in row over union membership

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Anne-Marie Walsh

AMBULANCE services may be hit by industrial action later this month.

Over 500 paramedics have backed industrial action up to strike action in a ballot after accusing their bosses of denying them the right to join the union of their choice.

The industrial action will start as a work-to-rule on July 24, although this is unlikely to have a severe impact on services.

But a spokesperson for their union, the National Ambulance Service Representative Association, Nasra, said the work-to-rule may ramp up into a strike.

Staff working as paramedics, advanced paramedics and emergency medical technicians will initially refuse to take on extra “non core” duties or use their personal mobiles or sat navs.

Members of Nasra, which is a branch of the Psychiatric Nurses Association, voted by almost 98pc in favour of industrial action.

They accused the HSE of refusing to allow staff have their union subscriptions deducted from their pay.

General Secretary of the Psychiatric Nurses Association, Peter Hughes, said the ballot result showed members’ anger at having a basic right to join the union of their choice denied to them.

"The message to the HSE from this outcome could not be clearer," he said.

"Ambulance personnel do not accept the  arbitrary move taken  earlier this year by the HSE to refuse to  deduct union subscriptions at source for the growing numbers of ambulance service personnel who wish to join Nasra, and exercise their fundamental right to organise and join the union of their choice."

He claimed the HSE has refused to hold talks on the issue.

Independent.ie has asked the HSE for a comment.

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