Unite members are protesting against £46m in cuts and plans to replace ambulance technicians with care assistants
Around 450 ambulance service workers are on strike across Yorkshire in a dispute over cuts in patient care, a trade union has said.
Members of Unite who work for Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust picketed 17 stations across the region.
Unite regional officer Terry Cunliffe said the dispute came after the ambulance service “de-recognised” the union in a row over how planned changes would affect patient safety.
He said the dispute concerned £46m of cuts and plans to introduce a care assistant role – for which there would be six weeks’ training – to replace ambulance technicians.
“We say that’s not sufficient to turn up to emergencies and provide life-saving patient care,” Cunliffe said on a picket line at ambulance headquarters in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, on Tuesday.
“It’s not a political decision. I’m not sure what alternative we have.
“Our members are left with no voice in the National Health Service. That’s unacceptable to us and we won’t be silenced.”
Cunliffe warned Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust: “You must listen to us on patient safety issues.”
The majority of ambulance staff, including members of other unions, were continuing to work.
Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust said it expected the action to put pressure on services but provisions had been made.