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48 Hour Ambulance Strike This Weekend!

Revol | 25.07.2006 19:25 | Health | Social Struggles | Liverpool

Ambulance workers across Merseyside and Cheshire are preparing for 48 hour stoppage this weekend, in a dispute over pay. Technicians - who assist paramedics in ambulances - began a series of walkouts two weeks ago, after the collapse of talks with their bosses.

As previously reported on Liverpool Indymedia, the dispute began when the employers double-crossed workers over a pay review they said would be 'binding on all parties'. When the review gave them the 'wrong' answer, the employers used a range of spoiling tactics in an attempt to enforce lower rates for ambulance technicians.

The Ambulance Service Union originally called the walk-out after a ballot of its 200 members. Now the Ambulance Service Union (ASU) has said it will strike later this week, from 7pm on Friday to 7pm on Sunday.

It means employers will again have to rely on help from managers and paramedic trainers, along with volunteers from St John's Ambulance and staff from elsewhere in the North West, to maintain ambulance services to the public.

The ASU fears technicians will be placed in Band 4, on a salary of £19,000 each, a cut for some as they currently earn anywhere between £19,000 and £21,070.

The union wants to see them placed at the bottom of Band 5, on £21,118, with a full 25% un-social hours bonus. If they are placed on Band 4, their overall rise would effectively work out at a total 14% including the un-social hours bonus, for those who qualify for the full amount.

Ambulance service union bosses meet their members in Liverpool tomorrow morning to get feedback about the strike but say they are pleased with the response so far.

Ray Carrick, ASU assistant general secretary, said: "The third of our planned days of action went well, with a rally outside Old Swan ambulance station which was attended by about 75 to 80 staff.

"They were all in uniform and handing out leaflets to passing members of the public and motorists. We were very encouraged by the support being shown."

"We have already given notification to the employers that there will be a 48-hour stoppage next weekend.

"It is hoped this will make them see there is no slacking in the morale of staff involved. We are all keen to see this dispute brought to an end, but the employers have not come to the table with a concrete offer that could be the basis for negotiation."

It is the first time ambulance staff have been on strike in Merseyside for more than 20 years.

Ambulance workers don't take strike action lightly, knowing how important their jobs are to the welfare of the general public. However, it is precisely because they serve us all so well that we should support them against their employers' dodgy dealings.



Display the following 2 comments

  1. what technicians do — a technician
  2. Paramedic perspective — mr michael magoo