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National Ambulance Service personnel to ballot on strike action

The dispute centres around proposed new work structures.

SIPTU-AFFILIATED NATIONAL Ambulance Service (NAS) personnel have begun a ballot for strike action in a dispute with the HSE.

The union said the row centres around a series of proposed reforms contained in a report which recommends the introduction of new grades of staff, new job descriptions and the upskilling of existing staff.

Siptu Sector Organiser, Ted Kenny, said that the proposals include revised pay scales for NAS members. 

“Following months of intensive, local engagement on this issue with NAS management our representatives are deeply concerned that it is yet to be implemented.

“Our members have fully co-operated with the plan drawn up by management to develop the service and they expect commitments concerning new grades and pay scales which were made to them to be met.

“Our members will not accept any deviation from the reality that it is management’s function to secure the necessary funding to deliver the agreed vision for the service. This includes any payments arising to staff as part of their overall restructuring plan,” he said.

Kenny said that his union rejects any suggestion that the measures would mean an increase in costs. 

“It is the function of management to secure the necessary funding to deliver the commitments it has made,” the Union representative said.

The ballot for strike action will conclude on 4 May.

Last year The Journal reported that ambulance workers feel “taken for granted” with staffing levels and workloads causing burnout and leading to some leaving the sector. 

Representatives have said staff numbers should at least double to tackle the current issues facing ambulance workers.

At the time Kenny said there are 1,200 paramedics working in Ireland. 

The HSE said there are 2,000 staff members in the National Ambulance Service overall. 

Kenny said he’s aware of 30 or 40 people who have left the sector in recent times for a number of reasons, including burnout. 

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