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Ambulance service staff to take industrial action over union rights

The National Ambulance Service Representative Association has said its members have voted by nearly 98% in favour of industrial action.

AMBULANCE SERVICE PERSONNEL have voted to take industrial action later this month in protest over the HSE’s refusal to facilitate payroll deductions of union subscriptions for new members of the National Ambulance Service Representative Association (NASRA).

NASRA has said its members have voted by nearly 98% in favour of industrial action, up to and including strike action.

It said the industrial action will begin on 24 July.

Peter Hughes, the general secretary of the Psychiatric Nurses Association (PNA), of which NASRA is a union branch, said the decisive outcome of the ballot confirmed the level of anger and frustration by its members 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,” Hughes 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 personnel (including paramedics, advanced paramedics and emergency medical technicians) who wish to join NASRA, and exercise their fundamental right to organise and join the union of their choice,” he said.

NASRA members as union branch members of the PNA had been left with no other option than to take this action and protect their fundamental right of freedom of association.

“The HSE have chosen to refuse to engage with us on the fundamental issue despite many requests to do so. There is still time to avert industrial action and I am calling on the HSE to immediately commence processing union deductions from payroll for new NASRA members as is the norm across the trade union sector.”

Sinead McGrath, national chairperson of NASRA, said that is it “time for the HSE to take up and accept the implications of this ballot outcome”.

The HSE has been contacted for a statement.

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