Strike moves closer

PUBLISHED: 15:00 10 December 2010

ambulance

ambulance

Archant

THE threat of industrial action by hundreds of ambulance staff covering the Weston area has moved a step closer.

Union leaders say 96 per cent of members say they would support strike action in protest at changes planned by Great Western Ambulance Service (GWAS).

The service is proposing shift patterns, which it says will not mean staff working longer and salaries cut. But the union says the changes will remove ambulance crews’ right to two unpaid rest breaks in 12-hour shifts, potentially affecting paramedics’ performance.

It also fears the move will mean a ‘slimming down’ of ambulance cover at non-peak times from Weston.

Unison branch chairman and paramedic Ian Whittern said: “Our ballot shows that 97 per cent of our members have lost confidence in the management of GWAS.

“The service should be working to decrease the pressure on ambulance crews in order to reduce the risks of making mistakes, especially in adverse environments, and therefore improve patient care.

“This is a critical situation. Ambulance crews are flagging up serious safety concerns but we are being ignored by managers more interested in steam rolling unproven and dangerous changes to shift times and rest breaks.”

The questionnaire by the union was not a formal ballot for strike action, but it indicated what the results would be if an industrial action ballot was issued.

The union invited senior executives from GWAS to meet with staff representatives in order to find a mutually agreeable way forward that provides the best for patients and staff.

A spokesman from Great Western Ambulance said: “The changes to shift start and finish times are so that we can keep as many staff on the road at any one time.

“The changes we are making are about saving more lives. To do that, we need to ensure we have the trained staff and vehicles available when and where our patients need us.”

GWAS provides the emergency ambulance service for 2.2million people living in Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.

Unison, the public sector union, represents more than 800 staff working for the service.

More from Weston Mercury

33 minutes ago

Weston’s dreams of pulling off an FA Cup shock and making the second round were dashed as Wrexham claimed a 2-0 win at the Woodspring Stadium on Sunday.

Read more

There are delays on the M5 tonight (Monday) after a crash involving two cars between Clevedon and Weston-super-Mare.

Read more

Plans to build a further 67 houses in a tourist village have been given the green light.

Read more

Rubbish collections were delayed by ‘mindless vandals’ after a tyre-slashing rampage took place in Weston-super-Mare at the weekend.

Read more
14:20

Villagers are concerned more than 60 trees could be cut down to build six homes in Winscombe.

Read more

A pair of Weston sisters have raised more than £200 for charity.

Read more
15:00

Two friends from school have opened up a new business in Weston-super-Mare.

Read more
Weston-super-Mare

A fun fundraising week saw students look back over years of show business.

Read more

Weston Lions Club members picked up their bin bags and litter-pickers and took to Kewstoke last week.

Read more
09:29

Weston’s coastguard and RNLI crews were called, mid-way through yesterday’s (Sunday’s) remembrance service, to rescue a kite-surfer who was in trouble.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Image
Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 8°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Weston Mercury twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists