Ambulance workers in Merseyside and Cheshire have won independent mediation in a bitter dispute over pay and conditions. The workers are members of the Ambulance Service Unison (ASU) - a breakaway from the Unison union.
The ASU organised a series of strikes to demand that ambulance technicians are placed on band five of the Agenda for Change pay structure.
According to Ray Carrick of the ASU, “Management has been hard pressed to cover for our members during strikes. They came to us with the deal on Friday last week and we called off our strike.”
However, it was not clear what the deal would mean. Management have agreed independent mediation, but it was not known who would mediate.
If an agreement is reached between managers and the ASU, it is not obvious what this would mean for the wider ambulance service.
Agenda for Change was supposedly designed to avoid local disputes over pay and conditions. Unison, by far the largest union representing ambulance workers, says it is pursuing national negotiations over these issues.
The two areas affected, Merseyside and Cheshire, do not even constitute the whole of the ambulance service for the north west of England. For example, Manchester ambulance workers, who are part of the same service and who are represented by Unison, would not be covered by any agreement.