Socialist Worker

Striking Merseyside ambulance workers threatened with sack

Issue No. 2014

The chief executive of the North West Ambulance Service has threatened to sack striking ambulance technicians on Merseyside.

John Burnside wrote to workers in the Ambulance Service Union (ASU), which broke away from the Unison union and which is not recognised by the TUC.

He told workers, “If there’s no resolution then as a last resort the trust board would have to consider dismissal of any employees taking strike action, to protect patient care.”

Any such action from management would be a threat to all workers in the health service.

The workers struck on Friday and Saturday nights last weekend and during the day on Monday of this week in the latest in a series of actions.

They want ambulance technicians to be placed on band five of the Agenda for Change pay structure. Management want technicians to be on band four.

Unison, which also represents ambulance staff on Merseyside and elsewhere in the north west of England, has not joined the action, preferring to pursue national negotiations.

Ray Carrick of the ASU told Socialist Worker, “We have told management that we think our case is so strong that we would accept binding arbitration.” However, he added, management has not responded favourably to this offer.

Management has offered to train 90 extra paramedics, who would qualify for band five, but, said Ray, “that would cover an existing shortfall in the number of paramedics - they would have to train them anyway”.

He added that the ASU was planning to lodge a number of grievances from paramedics. There is a possibility that they could also take strike action.

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Sat 19 Aug 2006, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 2014
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