SIPTU Ambulance Professionals vote in favour of WRC proposals

SIPTU members working in the National Ambulance Service (NAS) have voted in favour of Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) proposals on the future development of the service in a ballot counted today (Thursday, 1st September) in Liberty Hall, Dublin 1.

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “Our members have voted by two-to-one in favour of these proposals which resolve a number of outstanding issues in the NAS. Perhaps even more importantly, in this vote our members have overwhelmingly backed proposals that will substantially address the under-investment in our ambulance service and include the employment of 600 new workers.

“Our members are determined to ensure that the NAS and the Department of Health fully deliver on these proposals. While the agreement now requires considerable work to guarantee its full implementation we are confident that the way is now clear for our members in the NAS to engage with the employer on the issues of pay restoration, pay progression and pay justice.

Bell added: “In the coming weeks, SIPTU representatives will raise these issues directly with the Minister for Health, Simon Harris. It is also our intention to seek a job evaluation for our members in the NAS through the Public Service Commission, once it is established.”

SIPTU suspends ambulance strike following commitment on extra funding for service

SIPTU representatives have indefinitely suspended a planned all-out strike by members in the National Ambulance Service which was due to commence on Wednesday, 10th August.

The move follows SIPTU representatives securing a formal commitment from the Department of Health, Health Service Executive (HSE) and National Ambulance Service (NAS) management for substantial new investment in the service, at talks this evening at the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC).

SIPTU Health Division Organiser, Paul Bell, said: “The commitments secured this evening contain concrete guarantees on staffing levels, compensation for loss of earnings and the establishment of a working group to deal with other issues relating to the NAS.

“Specifically, our members have secured commitments for the recruitment of 150 new emergency technicians for deployment into the Intermediate Care Service over a two-year period. There is also a commitment to implement the recommendations outlined in the NAS capacity review. This confirms that 461 paramedics will be recruited on a phased basis over a five-year period which will entail recruiting in excess of 100 paramedics each year on an incremental basis.

“Other issues resolved include securing compensation for loss of earnings for our members under the terms of the public service agreement. This is to be paid at the next available payroll.”

He added: “These negotiations have been protracted and at times difficult for our members. For them to even contemplate taking all-out strike action shows the seriousness of the issues that were in dispute. However, they remained united and have succeeded in securing commitments for the resources necessary to provide the standard of ambulance service the public deserve.

“Our members are aware that today marks merely the beginning of the journey towards securing the future of a public ambulance service that is fully funded, fit for purpose and enjoys public confidence. However, the commitments provided by the Government and the relevant state agencies this evening indicate that they are willing to play an active role in supporting ambulance professionals in developing a world class service.”